By Michael E. Brooks
“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight” (Proverbs 11:1 NKJV)
Buying meat, fish, seafood, or produce in South America, Africa or Asia almost always involves a visit to the markets and ultimately having one’s purchase weighed on a balance. I have often wondered about the accuracy of the weights used in this process.
Shaving a few grams here and there could increase a merchant’s profit considerably over time. I imagine I am not the first to be aware of this.
In some places there are standards and regulatory structures in place to guard the interest of the buying public. In many others, it is buyer beware.
How does commerce survive in such a climate? How can we continue to visit the markets and risk being cheated?
Those are complex questions, with more than one answer. But in most cases the bottom line is simply trust. Those with whom I usually shop in the markets almost always go back to the same merchants whom they have used many times.
They have checked weights on their scales at home and found them accurate. They have repeatedly made purchases and found the food to be of good quality. Eventually they no longer find it necessary to double check, at least not every time. They have come to trust the seller.
One of many characteristics of God that invites our faith is his trustworthiness and dependability. He cannot lie (Titus 1:2). “He is the Rock (i.e., dependable) . . . all his ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice” Deuteronomy 32:4). We can believe him and rely upon him because he is trustworthy.
Because he is true, he also demands that those who follow him be true. They must be trustworthy. “Let your yes be yes and your no be no” (Matthew 5:37). Ideally, one’s identity as a Christian should be a guarantee of honesty and trustworthiness. Sadly too often such is not the case.
In many churches, the old hymn is often used which pleads, “Trust and obey.” This is obviously and properly an appeal to trust the one who is worthy of our faith and to obey him who has all authority.
Would it not be wonderful, however, to be able to trust all those who call upon his name, and obey all that purports to come from Scripture? Unfortunately, we cannot.
Rather we must follow the example of the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures . . . to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
One thing we can do. We can strive to be trustworthy in all things ourselves. Let it be said of us that in both material and spiritual affairs, those who checked up on us found us to be reliable and our products to be of good quality and accurate measure.
A dishonest scale is an abomination to the Lord. What of those who employ them knowingly? Let us always seek truth, and seek to be true.
By Michael E. Brooks