Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955. Today, the park is a model of precision, but on that first day, it was the opposite. There was a seven mile back-up of traffic on a two-lane road leading into the park. Rides broke down. There was a power outage that brought Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to a screeching halt. Water washed up on the deck of the Mark Twain Steamboat because it was overcrowded. There weren’t enough drinking fountains or places for people to sit, causing the first aid stations to become overwhelmed. And two movie stars, James Mason and Jeff Chandler, got into a fight over whose child would be the first to take a ride on a horse.
But the biggest glitch of all was the size of the crowd. They had planned for a limited attendance by printing up “By Invitation Only” tickets. But those tickets were so easily duplicated that thousands of forgeries were printed. Also, in a remote, out-of-the-way place, a man leaned a stepladder up against the fence and was charging people 5 dollars apiece to climb up and over. Consequently, the crowd of over 11,000 that park officials were expecting swelled to over 28,000.*
That means there were over 17,000 cheaters in the park that day. Over half the people in attendance were there as a result of dishonesty. And just think…those were the Leave It to Beaver days when people were supposed to be more wholesome and trustworthy!
The Bible makes it clear that God hates cheating. Deuteronomy 25:16 says, “Those who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the Lord your God.” And Proverbs 19:22 says, “It’s better to be poor than dishonest.”
You may never sneak over the back fence into Disneyland, but every day of your life will present you with opportunities to lie, cheat, or steal in some small way that will bring you no immediate consequences. You’ll know you’re growing stronger when those opportunities start looking as ugly to you as they do to God.
For further reflection read Deuteronomy 25:13-16, Proverbs 11:3, 15:27, and 20:23.
*David Koenig, Mouse Tales (Irvine: Bonaventure Press, 1994), 22-23