"An Unexpected Turn"
October 21, 2014
(Jesus said) "And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:10-13
What would you do if you were told you had cancer and thought you didn't have long to live?
Most folks would put their affairs in order. They would check a few things off their bucket list. They would visit with family and friends. They would apologize for past offenses and say, "I love you" whenever and to whomever those words might be appropriate.
Shirley Player, a 61-year-old British woman, went a different route.
Having lost two sisters to cancer, and knowing her time was just around the corner, she began stealing from her employer. Believing she wouldn't be around for her family's future, she used the money to provide them with a few gifts and good memories. Those few gifts and memories cost her employer about $92,000 a year.
Player took that $92,000 each year for seven years. She might have continued if an audit of the company's books hadn't revealed what she had been doing.
Player's theft, for the purpose of giving "gifts and memories," is going to cost her four years in prison. And if you expect me to say Player is going to spend her last months and days in prison, you would be wrong. You see, Player's cancer is gone, and she has been given a clean bill of health.
So, what would you do if you thought you had a limited time to live?
Many people, along with the list of items I shared above, also change their relationship with the Lord. For some folks the news of their imminent demise gets them very angry with God, and they divorce themselves from all things spiritual. Most of the time people who have had a casual relationship with God suddenly get serious.
When I say "serious," that means the attendance and offering figures of these frightened souls is increased manifold. That's not a bad thing. It's just a sad thing.
* It's sad that it often takes an upcoming guest appearance by the Grim Reaper to motivate people to appreciate the gifts they have received through the Savior's sacrifice.
* It's sad they have to face the prospect of losing their earthly lives before they are really grateful for the eternal life Jesus has won for them on Calvary's cross and at His borrowed and empty tomb.
All of this leads this devotion to conclude if something is worth cherishing when you are facing death, maybe that same thing should be appreciated while you are enjoying life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I do not know if the time before me is long or short. I know only that You have given me this moment. May I make the best use of each moment in glorifying You and helping my neighbor. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries