How Old Is Your Son?

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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"How old is your son?" asked the man behind the ticket counter.

The father hesitated for a moment. It wasn't that the question was difficult to answer. His son was 12 years old, that day. He'd been asking his parents for months to take him to this theme park on this birthday, to celebrate the fact that he'd become a "big kid."

No, the father hesitated because of a sign at the ticket booth: "Under 12 Half Price." He'd asked for three tickets, and since he'd left his wife and son standing a few feet away, he figured the man in the booth had seen them and was asking if his son qualified for the discount.

The man was glad to take his son out to celebrate this milestone birthday. But those tickets were expensive, and he wouldn't mind saving the price of even half of one.

The moment he began to consider this idea, rationalizations started flooding into his head. If they'd come here one day earlier, the ticket would have been half price. Was it really fair for the park to charge that much more just because his son was a day older?

But in the end, his conscience spoke even louder. The truth was the truth, and he had to tell the truth, even if it cost him.

In Psalm 15, David asks, "LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?" In effect, he's asking what kind of person's life and work is pleasing and acceptable to God. He answers, among other things: "He whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue . . . who keeps his oath even when it hurts." David concludes, "He who does these things will never be shaken."

When David says that the person whose life is pleasing to God "keeps his oath even when it hurts," he means that this person tells the truth and keeps his word even if it costs him something. He doesn't change his mind or adjust the facts to suit his own interests as different situations arise.

Anyone can tell the truth when they've got nothing to lose. But people who stick to the truth, even when there's a price to pay, will be admired for their character. They'll develop a reputation for honesty and integrity that will serve them well in all their dealings with other people.

"My son is 12 years old," the father replied, after only a slight hesitation. He added proudly, "today," as he paid for three adult tickets. He turned around to find his wife and son standing right behind him! His son was beaming with a satisfaction that seemed to come from much more than the fact that he'd just been treated as a "big kid."

When the boy ran off to get on the first ride of the day, the man's wife took him aside. "You couldn't see this," she informed him, "but we came right up behind you while you were still in line. When our son saw you hesitate, his eyes got as wide as saucers. I think he guessed what you were struggling with, and he was watching you closely to see what you would do. When you told the truth, he was so proud of you! I think you've just set a great example that will help him grow up to be an honest man."

He who does these things will never be shaken . . .

Questions for personal reflection, online discussion, or small groups:

  • Do you feel shaken in your daily work or life? How can you live and work with greater integrity so there is no slander on your tongue?
  • Are you tempted to fudge the truth with others? Why? How do you fight the urge to deceive others?
  • Who looks up to you as an example? Kids, peers, employees, students, etc.? How can you live in a way that will inspire them?
  • People of high character are known for their honesty and integrity. How are you known?