Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
God hates corrupt business practices, so be careful in all your financial and business dealings. It would be better to overpay for something than to underpay, because God can make up the difference in money, but no one can save you from the Judge of all the earth.
How much can a farmer steal in a year by selling 100 gallons of milk a day that contain 127 fluid ounces, when milk is selling for $3.00 per gallon? This is not a word problem for learning mathematics. This is a character test about business and personal integrity. The theft amounts to $855.47. Enough to get him locked up! Yet it was so minor that no one could detect it. But the dreadful and terrible God that inspired this proverb saw it all.
What is your annual job theft through personal phone calls, texts, emails, or tweets just 15 minutes a day, if your salary is $50,000 a year? $1,562! What about 30 minutes a day? $3,125! What if you add another 18 minutes for arriving late, getting coffee, paying bills, Internet surfing, extending lunch, and/or leaving early? Then you have stolen $5,000 or 10% of your wages. Everyone is doing it? True Christians do not steal from employers.
The lesson here is financial and personal honesty. In Solomon’s day, you bought commodities by their weight on the merchants’ scales or measured by the merchants’ measuring devices. If they used altered weights or measures, they could easily steal a little from each customer. The LORD Jehovah detested, hated, and loathed such business practices. And He is just the same today. Are you always impeccably honest with money?
It would be far better to sell your milk 129 fluid ounces to the gallon than to short customers. It would be far better to work extra time, off the clock, than to cheat your employer. How can it be better to short yourself? You end up with a pure conscience and reputation; your customers or employer are thrilled and trust you; and the God of heaven can easily make up for the loss in ways that cannot be measured by a calculator. Glory!
Take an English lesson to expand your vocabulary. Paul told Titus to teach employees to never purloin, but to always show good fidelity (Titus 2:9-10). What is purloining? It means to pilfer, filch, or peculate. What are pilfering, filching, and peculating? Like purloining, they are all verbs for petty thefts or stealing in small quantities at a time. Uh-oh! Do you mean like the two examples above that could be multiplied many times? Yes!
Paul told Titus to authoritatively teach such job integrity (Titus 2:15). God hates financial and business cheating, and the gospel of Christ condemns it. Employees that never take advantage of an employer can beautify the doctrine of Jesus Christ by their fidelity on the job – faithfulness, honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness (Titus 2:9-10). Does your business character and reputation beautify the gospel, or stain it? Godly employees obey and please their employers at all times, in all matters, without ever talking back.
Do you pay your bills on time? Without cheating into the grace period? Do you return overpayments immediately? Do you return merchandise in as good of condition as when you bought it? Do you pay day laborers that day? Do you tip all service employees generously that count on tips to make a living? Do you give your employer a full day’s work or more? Do you file a complete and honest tax return? This proverb is for you.
Are you impeccably careful about filling out your expense report? Do you minimize your per diem expenditures regardless of what your employer offers? Do you disclose what is wrong with a used car that you sell? Do you inform buyers of the problems with your house or business? Do you eat your mistakes in restaurants or expect your meal to be free? Do you return borrowed items in better condition than when you got them?
Do you encroach on your neighbor’s property lines? Do you violate his airspace by your barking dog, or his yard by its droppings? Are you conscious of others doing things to help you, and do you compensate them when it becomes more than once or twice? Do you round numbers in your favor, or cheat others in very small amounts? Do you complain, wheedle, threaten, or otherwise try to talk others down in their selling prices?
The great God hates business, financial, or personal cheating. He will grind you into powder, if you try to take advantage of others, even by small amounts. It is amazing to watch poor men, who think they have the right to cheat to get ahead. Guess what? That is why they are poor! The generous man, who scatters his money freely to help the poor and to keep a clean reputation before God, gets ahead of the man holding back (Pr 11:24-26).
You will have opportunities today to be fair, generous, honest, righteous, and sacrificial. If you choose to protect yourself and cheat anyone else, even by a very small amount, your Creator God will be offended and make sure you lose in life. If you choose to be considerate, diligent, faithful, and trustworthy, you can beautify the gospel of Jesus Christ. The honest man shows himself to be a true child of God (Ps 15:1-5; Rom 12:17).