(Jesus said) "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Matthew 6:13
I know all you Daily Devotion subscribers are good people. The question before you today is just how good are you?
Let's find out. Today I'd like you to put yourself in the place of Las Vegas taxi driver Gerardo Gamboa. Right before Christmas he picked up a fare and delivered him to his destination. The unidentified man gave Gamboa a pretty-standard $5 tip.
Not long thereafter Gamboa noticed a paper bag on the back seat of the cab.
Gamboa looked inside. The bag contained six, rather large stacks of $100 bills. To save you the nuisance of trying to figure out how much six, rather large stacks of $100 bills is, he counted. It's $300,000.
Now nobody could prove the man had left the money in the cab, and if the gambler made an accusation, it would be one man's word against another. Along with that, it's not as if this big winner had really been all that generous with his tip. With $300,000 in a paper bag he could have afforded more.
So, good people, let me ask, what would you do with the paper bag?
Would you turn the money in? Would you bury it? Would you spend it? Would you give it to a friend for safe-keeping? What would you do? Pick an answer:
* I wouldn't have a second thought. I'd turn it in because it's the right thing to do.
* I hope I'd turn it in, but I'd like to hold it and count it a few times before I did.
* I'd say, "What bag? I ain't seen no bag? No bag has ever been left in my cab?"
Now for those of you who picked the first answer: Good. Still, don't be too sure of yourself. The devil probably has a temptation for you that is more interesting. And if you picked the second answer, I'm glad the Holy Spirit is urging you to do that which is right. And for those of you who went for the third answer: I really appreciate you being honest about your inclination to dishonesty. Still, there is room for improvement.
All of this is a way of saying the Lord Jesus was serious when He told us we should pray about being delivered from temptation and evil. Both are real and both have been successful in causing Christ's redeemed to stumble and fall.
Read through Scripture and you will see numerous examples of those who succumbed to a temptation designed for their personal interests. Read through the Gospels and you will be shown the Savior who resisted all the evil which has managed to mess us up.
Read and be thankful for the blood-bought deliverance He has given.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that in Jesus I have salvation. I rejoice that in my troubles I cannot be shaken. By the Holy Spirit's power may others realize that only in Jesus is there real hope and help. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
P.S. Oh, in case you're wondering. The cash was delivered to the gambler, and the gambler rewarded the honest cabbie with a five-figured thank-you gift. It was a nice reward but, in my estimation, not as nice as having glorified the Lord by resisting temptation.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries