Treasures, Integrity, and Death
One of the habits I formed as a young believer is to read a chapter of Proverbs a day. It’s simple enough to pick the chapter after the day’s date. Before you know it, you have read through the whole book of Proverbs twelve times a year!
So, this morning was Proverbs 21. Here’s the verse that caught me…
“Getting treasures by a lying tongue is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.” — Proverbs 21:6
The Best Policy
At first glance this proverb is a simple appeal to the need for honesty, isn’t it? If you gain treasure (money or things) with a lying tongue, you’re not being honest. So, we should be honest. That’s simple enough! But then it says this weird stuff about a fleeting fantasy…wait, what is the fantasy? It seems to be the “getting treasure” part.
But, how? Did you not get what you were after? If you got what you were after, even by lying, the “getting” isn’t a fantasy, it’s reality. Right?
Perhaps. Maybe what you thought you were getting and what you actually got are two different things.
A Naive Focus
When I was nearing the age of 16, I couldn’t wait to get into the truck for the first time and drive off in my new found freedom…alone! But when the day came, I got more than I expected. I got responsibilities; paying for gas, taking my sibling to things, going to the store for bread or milk. I was so captivated by the appeal of freedom I never guessed the other things were a part of the deal. All I wanted was the freedom to drive on my own, by myself, and that’s what I got; it just wasn’t all I got.
When you lie to get something, you might get it; that’s true. It’s just not all that’s true.
Think about it. If you are willing to lie to get something, you’re throwing away your integrity by being deceptive. It is a fantasy to think a treasure gained through deception will bring satisfaction or joy. You’ve traded the uncommon treasure of your integrity for something common (see Proverbs 22:1). The treasure you thought would fulfill simply cannot. No amount of treasure or riches can replace integrity. Sacrificing your integrity and thinking it will gain you anything positive is a fantasy. And then it gets worse.
The Wrong Path
You’re on the pathway toward death. You’re SEEKING it. While you thought that treasure would make your life better, sweeter, happier — it doesn’t. It brings death, not life; discontentment, not satisfaction; covetousness, not gratitude. We think, “only a little more ______ and then I’ll have enough.” How many more times must we deceive before there is enough to satisfy? Giving away your integrity to gain treasure is walking the pathway toward death.
“Better is a little with righteousness than vast revenues without justice.” — Proverbs 16:8
There are many grey areas in life, dishonest gain isn’t one of them. If you want to be one who seeks life, do your treasure getting with integrity.