Researchers interviewed 43,000 Americans and found that rich people are much more likely to shoplift than poor people. In fact, other research shows that well-off people tend to lie, cheat, and steal more than indigent people do. Of course, this certainly does not excuse poor who do break God’s laws, but it helps to explain why God sent an explicit message to rich people in Amos day. His nation was enjoying peace and prosperity as never before. Yet not only were they ignoring the poor, the prophet Amos charged them with gaining their wealth at the expense of the poor. They robbed extremely low-income people by stealing their grain, charging them high taxes, and forcing them to pay exorbitant rent. These greedy merchants even denied the needy justice in court. They bribed the judges to rule in their favor. Amos’ message to these callous merchants was this: “Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live.” Certainly, in our day many businesses—especially small ones–have plenty of challenges just to stay afloat. Yet God calls us to be fair, honest, and just in the way we treat the public, especially those who are poor.

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