Diamonds have long been prized as precious gems. Some are valued in the millions of dollars. Could it be, however, that from God’s standpoint, there are things more precious than diamonds or other gemstones?
Haykanush, an unbaptized publisher living in Armenia, found a passport near her home. Inside the passport were some debit cards and a large sum of money. She told her husband, who like her was an unbaptized publisher.
The couple had serious financial problems and were in debt; yet, they decided to take the money to the address listed in the passport. The man who had lost it was astonished—as was his family. Haykanush and her husband explained that their honesty resulted from what they were learning from the Bible. They felt that they had to be honest, and they used this opportunity to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses and to leave some literature with the family.
The family wanted to give Haykanush some money as a reward, which she declined. The next day, the wife visited the couple at home and as a token of the family’s appreciation insisted that Haykanush accept a diamond ring.
Like that family, many people would be surprised by the honesty Haykanush and her husband showed. But would Jehovah be surprised? How would he view their honesty? Was their honesty worth the effort?
QUALITIES MORE PRECIOUS THAN MATERIAL THINGS
The answers to those questions are not difficult. The reason is that God’s servants believe that displaying Jehovah’s qualities is more precious in his eyes than diamonds, gold, or other material things. Yes, Jehovah’s view of what is precious and what is not differs from that of most humans. (Isa. 55:8, 9) And as for his servants, reflecting Jehovah’s qualities in fuller measure is a priceless achievement.
We can see this from what the Bible says about discernment and wisdom. Proverbs 3:13-15 says: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who acquires discernment; to gain it is better than gaining silver, and having it as profit is better than having gold. It is more precious than corals; nothing you desire can compare to it.” Clearly, there is no doubt that Jehovah values such qualities more than any material treasures.
What, then, about honesty?
Well, Jehovah himself is honest; he “cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) And he inspired the apostle Paul to write to the Hebrew Christians in the first century: “Keep praying for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.”—Heb. 13:18.
Jesus Christ set a good example of honesty. Recall, for instance, when High Priest Caiaphas exclaimed: “I put you under oath by the living God to tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus honestly identified himself as the Messiah, even though his truthful admission could allow the Sanhedrin to claim that he was a blasphemer and could lead to his execution.—Matt. 26:63-67.
What about us? Will we be honest in situations where a slight omission or twist of words might bring us material gain?
Admittedly, it is difficult to be honest in these last days when many are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money.” (2 Tim. 3:2) A financial crisis or uncertainty about employment has an impact on honesty. Many think that they are justified in stealing, cheating, or engaging in other dishonest practices. This notion is so widespread that when material gain is involved, many think that being honest is simply out of the question. Even some Christians have made poor decisions in this area and for ‘dishonest material gain’ have lost their good standing in the congregation.—1 Tim. 3:8; Titus 1:7.
The vast majority of Christians, however, imitate Jesus. They realize that godly qualities are more important than any riches or advantages. Thus, Christian youths do not cheat to obtain good grades at school. (Prov. 20:23) True, being honest may not always lead to being rewarded, as was Haykanush. Nevertheless, being honest is right in God’s eyes, and it enables us to maintain a clean conscience, which is truly valuable.
Gagik’s example well illustrates that. He says: “Before becoming a Christian, I was working for a large company where the owner evaded paying taxes by reporting only a small portion of the company’s profit. As managing director, I was expected to come to ‘an agreement’ with the tax agent by bribing him to overlook the company’s fraudulent practices. As a result, I had the reputation of being dishonest. When I learned the truth, I refused to continue doing that, even though the job paid very well. Instead, I opened my own business. And from day one, I legally registered my company and paid all my taxes.”—2 Cor. 8:21.
Gagik relates: “My income dropped by about half, so it was a challenge to provide for my family. However, I feel happier now. I have a clean conscience before Jehovah. I am a good example for my two sons, and I have qualified for privileges in the congregation. Among tax auditors and others with whom I do business, I now have the reputation of being an honest man.”
JEHOVAH IS A SOURCE OF HELP
Jehovah loves those who adorn his teaching by displaying his superlative qualities, including honesty. (Titus 2:10) He inspired King David to give this assurance: “I was once young and now I am old, but I have not seen anyone righteous abandoned, nor his children looking for bread.”—Ps. 37:25.
The experience of faithful Ruth bears that out. She stuck to her mother-in-law, Naomi, rather than leave her in her old age. Ruth moved to Israel, where she could worship the true God. (Ruth 1:16, 17) When in Israel, Ruth proved to be honest and hardworking, diligently gleaning as arranged for in the Law. In line with what David later experienced, Jehovah did not leave Ruth and Naomi in want. (Ruth 2:2-18) Significantly, Jehovah did much more than just provide for Ruth materially. He chose her to be an ancestress of King David and even of the promised Messiah!—Ruth 4:13-17; Matt. 1:5, 16.
Some of Jehovah’s servants may find themselves in situations where earning enough for necessities seems very difficult. Rather than look for an easy but dishonest way out, they strive to work hard and be diligent. They thus demonstrate that they value God’s superlative qualities, including honesty, more than anything material.—Prov. 12:24; Eph. 4:28.
Like Ruth of old, Christians around the globe have shown faith in Jehovah’s power to help. They have put implicit trust in the One who had this promise recorded in his Word: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.” (Heb. 13:5) Jehovah has repeatedly shown that he can and will help disadvantaged ones who display honesty at all times. He has stayed true to his word of promise about providing life’s necessities.—Matt. 6:33.
Yes, humans may prize diamonds and other objects of value. But we can be sure that to our heavenly Father, our displaying honesty and his other qualities is certainly worth more, yes much more, than any precious gems!