June 2, 2008
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20
The place was Calumet City, Michigan. The date was September 1, 1976.
On that date, in that place, a woman received a parking ticket.
It was $1 parking ticket.
Now I can't tell you the lady's name, because the article carried by the Associated Press last week didn't share her name. On the other hand, I can tell you something about the lady's conscience. I can tell you her conscience didn't let her off the hook.
Since 1976 her conscience has nagged her. Finally, it got the best of her. That is why she sent in the ticket with a twenty-dollar bill.
Ticket and money were accompanied with a note that read, "I always had good intentions of paying it. I put it aside and every once in a while I would come across it and said, 'someday I'm going to pay it.' Now I think it's time."
Then, hoping this would put the whole thing to rest, she added, "Please don't try and track me down. I am a respectable lady."
She probably is a respectable lady. Like you and me, in the eyes of her family, her neighbors, and her coworkers she probably gives every indication of being a pillar of the community, a role model, the best of the best. This teeny-tiny ticket doesn't even count.
Of course, in the eyes of God, the lady isn't perfect. She did break the law, and she ignored her conscience, and she put off doing what was right, and then she tried to avoid any repercussions by striving for anonymity.
This is just another way of saying "there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins." As Scripture says, we are all sinners; we all deserve condemnation, and we all need a Savior.
Thankfully we have One. The One and Only Savior, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Our Savior came into this world to redeem, recycle, and restore the worst of us. . . as well as the best of us.
An interesting idea, isn't it? Jesus came to redeem the respectable, because they need it every bit as much as the disreputable, the dishonest, and the disgraceful. As the respectable Apostle Paul once wrote, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost" (1 Timothy 1:15).
THE PRAYER: Dear Savior, You came to seek and save sinners- -sinners like this lady and Saint Paul- -and sinners like me. For doing all You did to erase all I have done wrong, my deepest praise and thanksgiving. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries