People view diamonds as very precious gems. Some are worth millions of dollars. But is there something that God views as more precious than diamonds or other gems?
Haykanush, an unbaptized publisher in Armenia, found a passport near her home. Inside the passport were some debit cards and a large amount of money. She told her husband, also an unbaptized publisher, about what she had found.
The couple had serious financial problems and were in debt. But they decided to take the money to the address that was on the passport. The man who had lost it was amazed, and so was his family. Haykanush and her husband explained that they were honest because of what they were learning from the Bible. Then, they used the opportunity to talk about Jehovah’s Witnesses and to give some literature to the family.
The family wanted to give Haykanush some money as a reward, but she would not accept it. The next day, the wife visited Haykanush and her husband at home, and to show how thankful she was, she insisted that Haykanush accept a diamond ring.
Like that family, many people would be surprised at the honesty Haykanush and her husband showed. But was Jehovah surprised? How did he view their honesty? Was their honesty worth the effort?
QUALITIES MORE PRECIOUS THAN MATERIAL THINGS
The answers to those questions are not difficult. Why? Because God’s servants know that imitating Jehovah’s qualities is more precious to him than diamonds, gold, or other material things. Yes, what Jehovah views as precious is different from what most people value. (Isaiah 55:8, 9) And his servants feel that their efforts to imitate Jehovah’s qualities are very precious.
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, Jehovah values such qualities more than any material treasures.
What, then, about honesty?
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.”
Jesus Christ set a good example of honesty. For instance, when High Priest Caiaphas said, “I put you under oath by the living God to tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God!,” Jesus was honest and identified himself as the Messiah. He told the truth even though he knew that the Sanhedrin could accuse him of being a blasphemer and that this could lead to his execution.
What about us? If we are in a situation where we might benefit materially by not telling someone all the facts or by slightly changing some facts, will we still be honest?
THE CHALLENGE OF BEING HONEST
It can be difficult to be honest in these last days when many are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money.” (2 Timothy 3:2) When there is a financial crisis or when jobs are hard to find, many do not have a problem with stealing, cheating, or doing other dishonest things. This kind of thinking is so common that many feel that the only way to benefit materially is to be dishonest. Even some Christians have made bad decisions and for “dishonest gain” have lost their good reputation in the congregation.
Most Christians, however, imitate Jesus. They realize that having qualities like those of God is more important than any riches or benefits. That is why young Christians do not cheat to get good grades at school. (Proverbs 20:23) Honesty may not always result in receiving a reward, as Haykanush did. Still, being honest is what God says is right, and it allows us to have a clean conscience, something truly valuable.
Gagik’s example shows that. He says: “Before becoming a Christian, I was working for a large company where the owner avoided 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.”
Gagik says: “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 HELPS US
Jehovah loves those who bring praise to him by imitating his wonderful qualities, including honesty. (Titus 2:10) And when we do this, he promises to help us. He inspired King David to say: “I was once young and now I am old, but I have not seen anyone righteous abandoned, nor his children looking for bread.”
The experience of faithful Ruth proves that. She loyally stayed with her mother-in-law, Naomi, rather than leave her because she was old. Ruth moved to Israel, where she could worship the true God. (Ruth 1:16, 17) She was honest and worked hard to glean, following the Law’s arrangement for the poor. And similar to what David later experienced, Jehovah never abandoned Ruth and Naomi. (Ruth 2:2-18) He also did much more than just provide for Ruth materially. He chose her to be part of the family line of King David and even of the promised Messiah!
It may be very difficult for some of Jehovah’s servants to earn enough money for their basic needs. Yet instead of trying to find an easy but dishonest solution, they work hard and are diligent. By doing this, they show that God’s wonderful qualities, including honesty, are more valuable to them than any material things.
Like Ruth, Christians around the world have shown faith in Jehovah’s power to help them. They fully trust in the One who promised: “I will never leave you, and I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5) Again and again, Jehovah has shown that he can and will help those who are honest at all times. He has always kept his promise to provide for the basic needs of his servants.
Yes, humans may value diamonds and other material things. But we can be sure that our heavenly Father values our honesty and other good qualities more, much more, than any precious gems!