"An Unintentional Donation"
December 20, 2011
And when He (Jesus) came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." Luke 22:40
Are you acquainted with the term "Indian-giver"?
In modern parlance an Indian-giver is someone who gives something and then asks you to give it back. If that definition is accurate, there is a man in Moline, Illinois, who is an Indian-giver. If I were him, I would be an Indian-giver, too.
His story is a simple one. It begins with an 80-year-old man who donated a suit to the local Goodwill store. It was about a week later that he remembered he had left $13,000 -- his life's savings -- in the pockets of that suit.
Goodwill workers are looking through the donations which came in at the time this man made his gift, but there is a good possibility the suit may have been sold.
The man, who has been taking care of his wife with stage-four cancer, is embarrassed and devastated by his expensive error. He and the family have posted a $1,000 donation to encourage the suit's new owner to do the "right thing" and bring it back ... with the cash.
So, let me ask, what would you do if you were the new owner of the man's suit?
• Would you bring it back ... or, at least, send the cash?
• Would you keep the suit? After all, you bought it. That suit, along with its contents, rightfully belong to you.
• Would you keep the suit since that money is obviously God's way of rewarding you for being so good and punishing the man for being so bad?
We all know what we ought to do, what we should do. Of course, on the night Jesus was betrayed, His disciples knew what they were supposed to do. They knew because Jesus told them: they were supposed to stay awake and pray that they might avoid temptation.
They knew what they were supposed to do, and they didn't do it.
Sort of like us. No, I don't know your particulars, but I know each of us misses the mark when it comes to doing the right thing, which is why Jesus was born into this world filled with people who don't always do what is right.
Most certainly He came to save them from sin, death and devil. But He also came to save us from ourselves -- and, by the Holy Spirit's power, maybe transform us so tomorrow we will do the right thing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, all too often I know the right path and choose a different one. For this I ask for and rejoice in Jesus' blood-bought forgiveness. Tomorrow help me so I may do better. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries