by Rev. Benjamin Chung
I was at the phone store recently getting a new phone when the employee and I happened to start discussing the topic of lost wallets. He shared that if he found a wallet he’d take out $20 and then mail the wallet back to the owner. I, on the other hand, would simply return the wallet completely intact because that’s what I would like for others to do to me, and I have done this. The employee acknowledged that we grew up being taught different schools of thought. For me, I have grown up hearing in church, time and time again of how we should return things to their rightful owner, if at all possible. (I have found loose bills on the ground. It is impossible to identify the owner.)
Let me give you another scenario. A fellow pastor once shared about his time at an amusement park and finding a wallet. He was 8 years old. Showing his father the wallet, his father responded, “see if there’s any money in it.” There was a $5 bill. “Take the money.” My friend—at 8 years old—puzzled at the idea. It was obviously not his wallet. But he obediently pulled the $5 out and put it in his pocket. Just as he pulled his hand out of his pocket, the boy who lost the wallet came up to my friend and said, “You found my wallet!” Handing over the wallet to the rightful owner, the boy opened the wallet and find it empty he stated, “I had $5 in here. Now it’s empty. Do you know where it is?” Now my friend is in a pickle. The boy’s $5 bill is in his pocket! My friend’s dad said, “No, we didn’t find any money in it.” Then they walked away, as the boy stood there sad.
My pastor-friend will never forget this event because his dad was also a pastor. He couldn’t figure out why he kept the money and then also lied to the little boy. These events have continued to bother my friend to this day.
It is normal for some to apply a “finder’s fee” when a wallet is found. I’ve experienced this fee applied to me before. But, I have still returned wallets fully intact. For me, one reason is Matthew 7:12a, which says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you”. Secondly, when asked why by the wallet’s owner I can testify that I am a Christian and I would want this same thing to be done to me!
最近當我在電話店買新手機時，我和店員無意間討論到遺失錢包的話題上。 他說假若他找到一個錢包，他會拿去二十美元，然後將錢包寄回給失主。至於我，我則會把錢包完整無缺地歸還，因為這亦是我希望別人會對遺失錢包的我所作的事，而且我已經做到了。 該店員承認這種不同的處理手法可能是由於我們從小就被灌輸不同的思想而致。 對自小在教會裡長大的我來說，每每聽到的教導是: 在可能的情況下我們應該如何將失物歸還給他們的真正主人。 （我曾經在地上撿獲到一些鈔票。相信在這種情況下是不可能鑑定到誰是失主。）
讓我再舉另一個方案。 一位牧師分享他兒時在遊樂園曾經尋獲到一個錢包故事。 他那時只有八歲。 當他把撿來的錢包給他的父親看時，他父親的反應是：「看看錢包裡面有沒有錢」。 原來錢包裡還有伍美元的鈔票。他的爸爸便吩咐：「把錢拿走」。我那個只有八歲的朋友雖然對這個想法感到困惑。 不竟這個錢包着實不是他擁有的。 但他仍然是乖乖地把那伍美元拿出來放在自己的口袋裡。 就在他把手從口袋裡掏出來的時候，那個遺失錢包的男孩剛好走到我的朋友面前說：「你找到了我的錢包！」 我的朋友把錢包遞給了失主，男孩打開錢包，卻發覺裡面是空的， 於是他便說：「我錢包裡原本有伍美元。 現在是空的。 你知道它在哪裡嗎? 」 當時我的朋友真的十分尷尬。 因為男孩的伍美元鈔票正在他口袋裡！ 然而我朋友的父親卻說：「不知道，我們沒有見到任何鈔票。」然後他們便離開了，只剩下男孩站在那裡為失去的鈔票而哀傷。
我的牧師朋友永遠也不會忘記這件事，因為他的父親也是一位牧師。 他無法弄清楚他為什麼會把那鈔票據為己有，而且還欺騙了那個小男孩。 直到今天，這事件仍一直在困擾著我的朋友。
對一些曾經遺失物品的人來說，付出一些「尋獲費」而能夠將物件找回來是很天經地義的事。我也有被收取過這筆費用的經驗。但是，當我所拾到錢包時，我仍然會完好無損地把錢包歸還。對我來說，原因就如馬太福音七章十二節上所說：「 所 以 ， 無 論 何 事 ， 你 們 願 意人 怎 樣 待 你 們 ， 你 們 也 要 怎 樣 待 人」。 其次，當遺失錢包的主人問我為什麼會那麼誠實時，我便可以見證我是一個基督徒，同時我亦希望會得到同樣的待遇！