(Jesus said) "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Marci Lederman is operations manager at Buddy's Small Lots in Patterson, New Jersey.
It was Lederman's duty to review the shocking security footage taken from inside her store after the doors had been locked. She observed the four young people who entered the store; she watched as they made their way up and down the aisles, and she saw them leave the store, after they had taken the things they wanted.
Please note that what I have shared so far is not the shocking part of the security film.
What shocked Lederman was this: even though the store was thought to be closed, a broken lock on the front door made it possible for the four young men to enter. When they called out and found no teller was on duty, the four didn't steal a thing. On the contrary, the four went to the counter and paid for the items they had picked up. Indeed, they even counted out the tax for those items ... to the penny.
Eventually, the four honest "thieves" were identified, located and thanked for what they had done. A grateful Marci Lederman gave each of them a $50 gift card to the store. I'm glad she rewarded those four fellows who play on the football team of William Paterson University.
As for me, I'm proud to share their story. But that story also leads me to ask what would you have done if you had been one of these young men?
Understand, I'm not asking what you would do now, at this point in your life. No, I'm asking what would you have done if you were a college student and money was in short supply?
Are you like me in thinking I'd like to believe I would have done the right thing? I'd like to believe I would have paid for my purchases. Yes, I'd like to believe that, but I'm not sure. If I'm being honest, I'm pretty certain I might have paid for what I had selected, but I don't think I would have thought of, or left money to cover, the taxes on those items.
Maybe that's why the Lord felt He should remind His people to let their good works shine.
We are supposed to do so for a number of reasons. First, we let our good works shine because it is the right thing to do, and we should let them shine because the Savior asked His grateful people to thank Him with the way in which they lived their lives.
But there is a third reason we should let our light shine.
No, it's not so we might get a $50 gift certificate to Buddy's Small Lots in Patterson, New Jersey.
We need to let our reflected shine because you just never know when someone like Marci Lederman is going to be watching you on the store's security camera. When that happens, we want to make sure we have given glory to our Father who has sent His Son.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my life reflect the light I have received from my crucified and ever-living Savior. Grant that the Holy Spirit use that light to point lost and wandering souls to Jesus, who alone illuminates the path to heaven. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries