"Saint or Sinner?"
November 27, 2012
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
So, what would you do?
That's not a rhetorical question. It does call for an answer. But before you offer a confused reply, let me share the story behind the question.
Last month a man in Massachusetts was at a used-book swap. As he paged through various volumes, he found a book which had $20,000 stashed away in the pages. Rather than keeping the money, he decided to try and find the owner.
As of this writing he is still looking.
Apparently, his story is not unique. This past October a cab driver in Las Vegas discovered a computer laptop case which held $221,510. He found the person who had left the cash in his cab and was given a $2,000 tip.
But there's more.
Last summer an unemployed man found $150,000 in a duffle bag, which had been hidden in his backyard. The man spent $10 of the money on cigarettes and turned the rest of the money over to the police.
The article which originally carried these stories asked the readers, "What would you do if you found a bunch of cash?" Four options were given. They were
1. keep it. Clearly, the person who lost it isn't missing it too much;
2. turn it over to the police;
3. try to find the owner;
4. give it to charity.
So, once again, let me ask you, the readers of Lutheran Hour Ministries' Daily Devotions: what would you do? What would you do if you were unemployed, if you really needed the money, if you saw the windfall as a way to finally get some financial breathing room for yourself?
What would you do?
I can tell you that more than 45 percent of the people who responded to the story said they would keep the cash.
If I read the Savior's words in our text correctly, that is not what He expects of His people. He wants them to do to others, as they would have someone do to them. Now if I had and lost $20,000 or $220,000, I would like it returned. If the finder were a Christian, I would expect him to return it.
After all, we follow a Savior who returned love for hate, healing for hurt, care, charity and compassion for sinners who had no use for Him. While we can never hope to copy the immensity and intensity of His love, we can still -- when we are given the chance -- do unto others as we want them to do to us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have given me salvation, rather than condemnation. Now may I, to the best of my ability, reflect to others the love I have received. This I pray in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries