Plumber Returns Small Fortune He Found; Doing So Really Paid Off
Once you’re working in a church, you could say you’re already doing God’s work. That’s regardless of the job you’re doing. When a plumber recently went to work at Houston’s Lakewood Church, though, he didn’t realize just how much good he’d soon do for the ministry. His discovery of a small stolen fortune stashed in the walls had the power to change lives.
The man who discovered the stash — Justin Cauley — had many ways he could have handled the situation. After all, the money had gone missing more than six years prior — and the church’s insurer had already covered it. Still, doing the right thing was the option that stood out most. In choosing that route, Justin eventually learned that rewards come from generosity.
Finding Money and Doing the Right Thing
As a plumber, there were many instances where Justin Cauley got to see the interior structures of different buildings. In most instances, there’s nothing behind those walls. One day in November 2021, though, something was different. As Justin pulled out a toilet at Lakewood Church, hundreds of envelopes containing money and checks fell out of the wall.
At that moment, he was faced with a major decision. Justin had bills piling up at home. Like most people, the coronavirus pandemic had not treated him well. He was also in a megachurch, so there was little doubt of the church surviving COVID-19 economically. Even knowing he needed the money and the church likely didn’t, though, Justin made the right decision.
He handed over the money and went about his day. The event may have faded into nothing more than an interesting story to tell friends, but then a local radio show asked people about the strangest things they’d ever found. Justin knew he had to call in to share his experience. Rather than his good deed remaining unnoticed by many, his honesty would soon change his life.
An Expired Reward — A Righteous Decision
A large portion of people wouldn’t return a lost wallet that contained money. Even among those who would, though, you have to wonder if they’d return life-changing money. When Justin decided to do so, he probably didn’t know the discovered cash was linked to a $600,000 theft in the church back in 2014. All those years ago, there was a $25,000 reward offered.
As the years wore on, it seemed less likely that the money would ever get recovered. This led Lakewood Church to donate the $20,000 they promised — the majority of the reward — directly to the Crime Stoppers of Houston. Unfortunately, the organization said the statute of limitations on the theft had expired by the time the money showed up. There was no reward to be had.
Of course, this doesn’t mean Justin got nothing from the experience. While working in the Lord’s house, it’s important to be a good steward. He certainly accomplished that, and the entire world learned of his honesty. Somewhere out there, however, was someone who didn’t think that was enough. Because of this, Justin still got life-changing money.
A Happy Ending for Doing the Right Thing
The goal of Crime Stoppers is to help reach successful prosecutions. The statute of limitations for felony theft in Texas cannot exceed five years, though, so not even the discovery of the thief would result in a prosecution. Still, Crime Stoppers realized the enormity of Justin’s decision that day. Because of this, they decided to step back from their own rules.
For his honesty, Justin Cauley received a $20,000 reward along with a wish for a “wonderful holiday season.” While a pile of bills was stacking up before Christmas, Justin suddenly had a tremendous amount of cash to work with. Money certainly isn’t the reason for the season, but there’s no denying that it can help.
Justin no doubt made the right decision. In all likelihood, keeping the money he found would have constituted a crime. Even if such a choice remained secret, though, he would have had to live with guilt. Instead, he got one of the best Christmas gifts possible along with the respect of the world. Generosity and honestly truly do pay off.
How DonorWerx Can Help
Doing the right thing won’t always result in a quick $20,000 reward. No matter how unclear the outcome might be, though, generosity always begets something good. Justin had a major decision to make that day, and though he could have chosen differently, doing the right thing ended up paying off in the end.
It’s important to remind your congregants that this is how the world works. The Bible tells us to be generous and that rewards will follow, but getting your ministry to give requires conveying this message the right way. This is one of the many areas of expertise we have at DonorWerx. Click here to learn more about how we can help your church increase revenue today.
Email teaser: Honesty and generosity are important traits mentioned repeatedly throughout the Bible. We’re promised that practicing these behaviors will lead to rewards, and though they may sometimes be difficult to notice, those rewards always come. Of course, your congregants may need to be reminded of this fact. We recently came across an inspiring story of one man’s generosity and honesty leading to a reward that changed everything. We wanted to share this story with you so you can show your ministry that giving really does pay off.