As she was unloading the last grocery bag from the shopping cart into her car, she noticed a can of tomatoes jammed into the corner of the cart. “That must have fallen out of one of the bags,” she thought to herself. Then immediately the thought came to her mind, “What if that can was overlooked and never made it up onto the conveyor belt with the other items to be scanned by the clerk?” She thought about looking through the bags right then to check the receipt for the item, but she really wanted to get home. Hopping into her vehicle, she told herself that she would look when she got home to make sure the tomatoes were on the receipt. The husband and kids were out when she arrived at the house, so she brought the groceries in and put them all away. Finally she took the receipt and began scanning to see if the can of tomatoes was indeed listed. She had put 2 cans of them in her cart. Upon careful perusal, there was only 1 can of tomatoes listed at 58 cents. “Well, I guess I should head back to the store,” she counselled herself. At the same time she was thinking, “58 cents. Why make a big deal over 58 cents? Nobody even knows that this item was not rung up.” An image came to her mind of a young man running away from a woman who stood screaming for help while she held a garment in her hand. It was Joseph, which to her was the epitome of integrity, Joseph who refused to become bitter, Joseph who did the right thing when nobody was looking. What did his honesty cost him? He was thrown into a prison for not giving in to the temptation to committ adultery, but it was really all part of God’s plan. What would taking back this can of tomatoes cost her? It would take a little bit of time and a little bit of gas, but she knew it was the right thing to do. Not a soul knew about that can of 58 cent tomatoes, but she knew that God knew. She also knew that she was being tested, and she wanted to make the right choice. There was a rational choice, a convenient choice, a “what would most people do” choice, but she wanted to make the right choice. She decided to eat a quick lunch, since she was starving and then head back to the store. With receipt and tomatoes in her hand, she walked back into the store. Since the cashier who had waited on her was not there, and the lines were very long, she decided she didn’t really need this 2nd can of tomatoes that badly, so she walked down to the aisles where the tomatoes were and put it back on the shelf.
Sometimes we battle with seemingly “little things”. They may be things that nobody knows about except you and God. This little incident I wrote about happened to me yesterday. I can’t say I’ve always made the right choice when it comes to matters of integrity, but I feel like I made the right one yesterday.(although I probably should have been quicker to do so.) I was reminded of a story from the Children’s Book of Virtues that I read years ago to my children called Someone Sees You. ( Click here for an illustrated slideshow of the story.) May God help us to be men, women, boys and girls of integrity, not only in the big things but in the little things as well because Someone is always looking.