"It Was Not Mine"

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He needed money for his sick wife. His rent was overdue. But it didn't matter.

"It was not mine," was all Iluminado Boc said after he found $17,000 last week.

The motorcycle taxi driver from Tagbilaran City, Philippines, found the bag filled with dollar bills left by a woman passenger. He promptly turned the money over to the police, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported recently. The woman who lost the bag of cash had just reported it to the police when Boc showed up at the precinct.

Boc, 45, said he was struggling financially because his wife was taken to a hospital the same day that he found the money, and they had unpaid rent. The owner rewarded him with 1,500 pesos or $32—about seven times what a motorcycle taxi driver makes a day.

I'm always inspired to read stories of honesty like this.

Yet sometimes I ask the question: Why do these stories make such headlines? Is it because examples like that of Iluminado Boc stand out in stark contrast against a backdrop of corruption and dishonesty in society? Certainly it's clear that cheating, stealing and lying have become a way of life for more than a few people. Plus, we grow tired of reading or hearing about cheating in elections, board exams and business.

How about us? If you were in the same situation as Illuminado Boc, what would you do? Many would probably wish that the person would never notice that she had lost the money. Some would hope that she wouldn't report the loss. Many would rationalize, "Well, it's her fault—she should be more careful not to leave things behind—especially something as valuable as $17,000 cash!"

For many of us, the question seems easy to answer—until we're faced with the situation. Your wife is sick. You need the money. Besides, you are behind in paying the rent. It's a real emergency!

Suddenly, the choice doesn't seem so clear-cut, nor easy. Someone might even say: "Are you crazy? It's an answer from God—why refuse it?" However, we know that God says, "You shall not steal." But surely God would understand? Or would He?

Vertical Thought is unique in that it challenges our assumptions and urges us to consider how God thinks: "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9 Isaiah 55:8-9 [8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
American King James Version×
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To think vertically means to learn and know the purpose for your life. Download or request the short, but incisive free booklet What Is Your Destiny?

In a world where moral absolutes have been sidelined, and where black and white have been neutered to give birth to uncertain grays, it's always inspiring to read about a few men and women who still have the guts to do what's right—no matter how difficult. When your wife is lying sick at a hospital and you find a bag of cash at work, it takes a man of character to stand up and say, "It was not mine." VT

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