The 10-Cent Solution


Adapted from a February 1973 New Era article.
One dime, two bottles. How much was my integrity worth to me?
Elder Sterling W. Sill

As our family was driving from Arizona, we stopped at a service station, and while the car was being serviced, one of the children said, “Could we have some soda pop?”

So I went to the vending machine. I put in one dime and I got out one bottle. I put in another dime and I got out another bottle. I put in a third dime and I got a third bottle. But then the gadget didn’t lock, and I got the fourth bottle free. As I was going to the car to make the delivery, I thought, “They charge too much for this stuff anyway.”

However, I have a little mental night-watchman on duty up here in my brain someplace who started to make a fuss, and he said, “Look, Sterling, if you’re going to be a crook, you had better get more than 10 cents out of it.”

I don’t know just what I would have done if the soda had cost a quarter, but I went back and put the other dime into the machine.

It was Mohandas K. Gandhi who once said there were 999 people who believed in honesty for every honest man. Now how can anyone tell whether or not I believe in honesty? By what I say about it or by what I do while I am at the vending machine where no one can see me except myself? Or how are you going to tell whether or not I believe the gospel is true? By what I say in testimony meeting or by the way I carry out my Church assignments?

One of the first laws of leadership success says that a person must be a convert before he can be a leader. That is also one of the first laws of religious success. The most serious blasphemy is not profanity but lip service. God has heaped His greatest condemnation upon those who draw near unto Him with their lips while their hearts are far from Him.

The Lord once said to His chief apostle, “Simon … when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31–32). Simon Peter may have been a bit offended because he probably felt he was already converted. But what happened that night at the trial when he denied the Lord three times may have indicated that even Peter was not fully converted.

Someone has described our most serious religious problem as that of being mere “Bible Christians.” That is where Christianity is primarily in the Bible, and not very much of it is in us.

It is not very important how many times we go through college unless the college somehow goes through us. Certainly, great benefits accrue when a man gets into the Church, but the really great things begin to happen only when the Church gets into the man.

A survey made some time ago indicated that over 95 percent of all of the people questioned said they believed in God. But there would be far less than that number who could be counted as His real disciples or as genuine converts to His doctrines.

[illustration] Illustrated by Paul Mann