An interesting thing happened to Howard Kirby who lives in Ovid, Michigan. In 2019, he bought an old couch for $70 from a Habitat for Humanity Restore.
After he had brought the couch home and set it up in his man-cave, it didn’t take long for his family to notice that the foot cushion was exceptionally hard. For several months, Kirby just put up with it, but finally his daughter-in-law couldn’t take it any longer and in January 2020, she cut it open to find out what was going on. Inside, she discovered a box stuffed with $43,170 in cash.
It was a miracle. It was enough to pay off the mortgage on Kirby’s home and a lawyer even told Kirby that the money was legally his.
But in an interview with MLive.com, Kirby said that God had a different opinion on the matter.
“The Holy Spirit just came over me and said, ‘No, that’s really not yours.'”
After God spoke to Kirby, he found out through the store who had donated the couch and arranged for the money to be returned. It was then he discovered that the couch had belonged to the family’s now deceased grandfather, who had obviously used it to hide the money.
Kirby told Mlive.com that as a born-again Christian, he needed to do what “Christ would want him to do.”
In his first letter to Corinthians, the Apostle Paul seems to actually address this very issue when he writes that even though some things may appear to be legal or lawful, they may not be beneficial for us.
12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV)
Paul then ties this discussion to not becoming enslaved or controlled by those things that are legal. In the next verse, he explains what this means by citing an old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”?
What Paul is saying is, yes, we need food to live. It is legal.
But that does not mean we should take that freedom and then “live to eat,” and allow food to become the total focus of our life. Because when that happen, we then become enslaved by it.
This is exactly what Kirby faced. The money was legally his, but it belonged to someone else, and he was facing a decision whether he controlled the money or the money controlled him.
Thankfully, I have never experienced a similar temptation as Kirby.
When Kirby’s story went viral, people were so impressed by his actions that some donated work on his house and another even set up a GoFundMe page for him.