“And they did not ask an accounting from the men into whose hand they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen, for they dealt honestly.” (2 Kings 12:15)
This is an unheard of way to conduct business. King Joash ordered that restorations be done to the Temple, which had fallen into disrepair. After figuring out a way to fund the repairs, Joash turned the money over to the craftsmen and laborers to do the work. Yet no accounting was done; no receipts for materials were requested; no time cards were punched. This verse is confounding to modern-day businessmen. How could any business or project function this way? The answer may be just as confounding as the policy: “they dealt honestly.” Astoundingly, the same honesty without accountability was repeated years later when Josiah oversaw Temple repairs (2 Kings 22:7).
Most of us work in jobs where accountability is already built in. There are systems in place to keep track of expenses, labor, taxes, et cetera. But can we imagine ourselves in a world without accountability? What if the honor system ruled all of our transactions? Should we be honest even without accountability?
God cares about our honesty in business: “a false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight” (Prov 11:1). Jesus taught that our word should be our bond (Mt 5:37). Swearing and oaths are unnecessary when we always tell the truth. When tax collectors (infamous for skimming) asked Jesus how to handle their business, he advised, “collect no more than you are authorized to do” (Lk 3:13). As he was gathering a collection for needy saints, Paul stressed his desire for everything to be above board: “for we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man” (2 Cor 8:21).
Christians ought to deal honestly in all that we do—even if it seems there is no accountability in place. We do not take advantage of people, pull one over on someone, fudge numbers, cheat on our taxes, or be anything less than completely truthful in all that we do. Besides the fact that we are accountable to God, our supreme honesty may even win a soul to Him (1 Pet 2:12).