A Sleepless Night

6 Aug

LIFE ON THE FAMILY FARM UNDER AN OPEN HEAVEN
By: Tom Heck
A Sleepless Night
A number of years ago, when I had a silo built here a very interesting thing happened. Something I’m not pleased about at all, but rather ashamed of. I share it with you readers though, hoping you can learn from my mistake.
In this particular situation, the crew of men that built my silo had several more silos to build after they finished mine. So needless to say, they were in a hurry to get my silo done so they could move on to the next job. Once they had my silo done they moved on to the next job, leaving a mess of broken concrete staves and metal behind.
We as a family were so glad to have our new silo done, that we joyfully went to work cleaning up the mess they left behind. In the process of cleaning it up, we found a very expensive, name brand ratchet they had left behind. They had thrown it away because it had broken.
I eyed it up, because I knew that tool company had a lifetime warranty on all its tools. Their tools were premium quality and carried a premium price tag. Thus, I had never bought a single tool from them, but I had admired their line of tools for years. Now, here I had one of their ratchets with a lifetime warranty on it. I use ratchets with sockets a lot on the farm here fixing machinery.
Once we had the mess cleaned up, I called around to find a store that carried that brand of tools. A couple days later, I took it into the store and showed it to the man behind the counter. He looked it over and replied, “No problem, I’ll give it to the company man when he comes around next week and then you can come in and get a brand new ratchet free.” I thanked him and left with a big smile on my face. Boy, was I looking forward to this expensive, top of the line ratchet. What a deal! But down inside I didn’t feel quite right about it. I brushed off those inner feelings though and went about the rest of my day.
I went to bed that night and fell asleep fast, but then shortly after that I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I tossed and turned for hours. Down inside I knew what was wrong. The lifetime warranty was for the owner of the tool. I had never bought it and the rightful owners had thrown it away. It was wrong for me to try and claim their warranty. In doing so, I would really be stealing from the company. Right there, lying in bed, I repented of my sin and asked the Lord to forgive me. And He did, and then I went back to sleep until my alarm clock went off.
After doing morning chores, I called the store up and talked to the man behind the counter again. I told him exactly what happened and apologized for being deceitful. His response, “That’s all right, people do that all the time here.” I replied, “It’s not all right, it’s stealing and I was wrong.” With that he absolutely insisted that I take the new ratchet because people do it all the time. Nobody would know the difference. I strongly replied, “I’ll know the difference and so will God. I’m not going to lose anymore sleep over a ratchet!” He was flabbergasted and said, “What should I do with this busted ratchet then?” I responded, “Throw it in the garbage; I don’t ever want to see that thing again!” With that we said, “Good-bye.”
Needless to say, I slept really well the next night. It is always right to be honest. Human nature always wants a good deal. We must always be careful that that doesn’t led us into sin. In the years since then, I’ve always been glad that I did the honest thing. If I wouldn’t have done it I would always have regretted it. I would have never enjoyed using that tool either. And it isn’t worth sleepless nights and a broken relationship with God. That would be terrible.

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI. Contact Tom at: lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com Copyright © 2013 by Tom Heck. All rights reserved.

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