“You’ll have to find another way to pay,” said the clerk when my credit card failed to scan in a local checkout line. When I got home, I brought my account up on the computer, and there, in bold print, were the words, “Account Suspended.” Now it’s important to know that I pay the balance monthly, and that payment had been received for that month, yet something had gone amiss. A call to customer service (which is now located somewhere over the ocean, it seems) put me in touch with a representative who said she had some questions for me…
“We have some questionable charges. Did you spend $1.12 at iTunes?” she asked.
“Yes. I just bought an iPod,” I said, somewhat irritated at the question. “Are you going to suspend my account every time I buy a song?”
“No, but that’s one of the charges over the last week we wanted to check on. Did you buy gas?”
“Did I buy gas?”
“Yes, I bought gas on Monday. Gas and songs, yes, I buy them both.”
“Very good then. How about Emirates?”
“Emirates. Did you spend $550 at Emirates?”
“What is Emirates?”
“We will come back to that.”
“No, let’s talk about that one now.”
“I have some other charges to ask about now. Did you buy another song from iTunes on Wednesday?”
“Probably. Let’s talk about this Emirates business.”
“Sir, did you or didn’t you buy a song from iTunes?”
“Was it $1.12?”
“Then yes, let’s say it was me. Emirates, now, please, let’s talk about it.”
“Okay, it’s an airline sir.”
“We have that you purchased a ticket yesterday from Emirates.”
“Wait…Emirates as in ‘United Arab Emirates?’”
“That would be the one.”
“Well, that would not be me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then it seems that someone has stolen your identity sir.”
“So what do I need to do?”
“Do you have your credit card with you?”
“Do you have a pair of scissors…?”
Honestly, I was annoyed at the start of the call, but by the end, I was grateful. So grateful in fact, that I called the credit card company again later in the week just to tell them “thank you” for keeping watch over things. I, for one, was glad that this charge didn’t slip by them unnoticed. But it made me think about all those times that things slide past my conscience (I Tim. 1:5).
Sometimes, we become so accustomed to wrong thinking and so acclimated to wrong motivations and actions, that our consciences become calloused (I Tim. 4:2). Our early warning system no longer “suspends our account,” but turns a blind eye and allows our sin to keep on “spending.”
This is why we find the Bible imploring “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). The word for “keep” is the word that is used of the central and highly reinforced area of a fortress (thus “castle keep”). Because how we live our lives is evidence of what is in our hearts, we should be diligent to keep our conscience and our minds safe and be on watch for those things that attempt to bring harm.
Unfortunately, some of us take better care of our plastic than we do our hearts.