The Sofa That Became an ATM
Imagine that you purchased an old sofa at Salvation Army for $20. When you get it home, you discover that it has wads of $100 bills stuffed inside--$40,000 in total! What would you do?
This was a dilemma recently faced by three roommates in New Paltz, N.Y. After purchasing the sofa, they discovered that the lumps in the sofa’s pillows were actually envelopes of $100 bills. As they were unpacking and counting their loot, they began dreaming about how they were going to spend it.
But then they saw that one of the envelopes had a name on it. This created an ethical dilemma. Do they try to track down the previous owner of the sofa? They spent some time wrestling with the moral implications of their decision.
They ultimately decided to find the owner. They arrived at rustic house in a rough neighborhood and found a widow there. As it turns out, the widow’s husband had stuffed cash in the sofa so that his wife would have money when he was no longer around. The cash represented decades of savings. When they gave her the money, she said, “This is my husband looking down on me and this was supposed to happen.”
After hearing this story, would you return the cash or keep it? After NPR reported this they ran a poll, and 24,225 people said they would return it. But here’s the shocker: 12,036 said they would keep it!
This prompts one simple thought: as Christians we are called to DO what is true (John 3:21). Too often we frame our faith only by what we say we believe is true, which leaves great latitude for how we conduct ourselves. But we are called to be people who do truth. So if you happen to find $40,000 in your sofa, think about this before deciding what to do.