My very good friend, fellow Toastmaster, and preaching colleague, Ralph Walker often regales me with wonderful stories, humorous quips, and witty responses to my blog posts.
Not long ago Ralph shared with me the story of an Indiana “Good Samaritan,” Josiah Vargas, who posted his adventure on a TikTok video that amassed over 2.3 million views.
Vargas made a trip through the McDonalds drive-thru in Elkhart, just to get a Sausage McMuffin. Later when he opened the bag he was shocked with the contents.
Instead of the breakfast sandwich was thousands of dollars in stacks of bills and zip lock bags of change. A worker had mistakenly given Vargas their morning deposit instead of his order.
“Why? There’s a couple thousand dollars here,” Vargas says, holding up a bag full of $20 bills. (Actually, it was $5,000 dollars). “Like, why would they do this? Why would they give this to me?” he incredulously wonders.
Although Vargas could have kept the money and McDonalds probably would never have known what happened to it, he turned around, went inside and jokingly said to a worker at the register, “You guys laundering money around here?”
The workers were obviously relieved and one by one give Vargas a hug, thanking him. In the end they presented him a $200 reward and free McDonalds for a month.
The story offers us some interesting and insightful applications.
#1 Doing the Right Thing is not Aways Easy.
The video records Vargas’ conflicted feelings. “Why would you guys do this to me? You know how bad I want this money? Why put me in this situation?”
The apostle Paul reminds us of the very real struggle of the flesh against the spirit. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish (Gal. 5:16-17).
Good people are enticed to do wrong. It’s a battle of the heart. The mind. The emotions. The conscience. And the will. It’s real. And we’ve all experienced it.
#2 The Devil will Attack our Weak Spot.
Vargas needed the money. It was tempting to keep it. It seemingly would have been easy to get away with.
Everyone has a different weak spot. It may be drinking. Pornography. Lying. Stealing. Cheating. Or illicit sex. A man’s on a business trip. Far from home. Temptation comes knocking at his door (literally). An occasion for fleshly pleasure is presented. “Why put me in this situation?” he wonders as he struggles to make the right choice.
Standing against the wiles of the Devil is a never-ending challenge for each of us (Eph.6:11).We must ever be alert and on guard for his carnal allurements (1 Pet. 5:8-9).
#3 Our Character is Revealed in Times of Struggle.
D. L. Moody famously quipped, “Character is what you are in the dark.” Or as Paul Rabil put it, “Character is who you are when no one is watching.” The wise man was right, “The integrity of the upright guides them” (Prov. 11:3).
Character is doing the right thing for the right reason. It is based on deep convictions. It is monitored by conscience and personal accountability. And it is maintained by self-discipline. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
The Bible says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than riches, and loving favor than silver and gold.” (Prov 22:1). Or even a bag full of money that isn’t yours.
The video ends as Vargas is diving away from the McDonalds with his reward and the self-satisfaction that he did the right thing, saying, “Do good, people.” Doing good, of course, is an issue of the heart. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things” (Matt. 12:35).
Although it’s not always easy, it’s pretty simple. “Do good, people.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
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