Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
It is July and time for our first "Christmas in July" devotion or, if you prefer, "The How Low Can You Go?" devotion.
The inspiration for the devotion is provided by three New York postal employees who were part of the "Operation Santa" program, which was conducted at Manhattan's James A. Farley Post Office. Working from November 2013 to January 2014, it was their job to make sure the letters from underprivileged boys and girls got to Santa's helpers, who wanted to make sure no child was left behind.
Many faithful, honest postal workers feel it is a privilege to serve in the Operation Santa department.
But these three are the tragic exception to that rule. According to federal criminal charges filed against them, the two men and one woman involved made good use of their Operation Santa opportunity. This they did by writing fake letters so some goodhearted individual might buy them electronics, clothing, and assorted other goodies.
Think that's bad? Well, this devo is not entitled "How Low Can You Go?" for nothing.
The three not only wrote fake letters to fill their own stockings, they took their deception one step further. Finding that making up false requests required a lot of work and originality, they decided to take a different approach, an easier approach. They took legitimate letters written by some underprivileged children and substituted their addresses for those of the kids.
You know, when St. Paul came up with a list of the unrighteous who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven, he had quite a list. I've looked that list over a number of times, but I haven't found anything about postal employees who steal Christmas presents from little children. Still, just because that sin isn't specifically listed doesn't mean the Lord has turned a blind eye.
No, the Lord hates all sins -- the ones Paul listed -- and the ones which never were put to parchment.
Just as importantly, the Lord Jesus came into this world to pay the price that would offer forgiveness to you, me and the three postal workers we've been talking about. Indeed, there is no sin too large, no transgression so heinous that it cannot be erased by the blood of the Redeemer.
Now that's important for you and me to remember since all of our nasty sins are more than balanced out by the Savior's supreme sacrifice.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, every human being is born with a sinful heart. I give thanks Your heart is so filled with love that it can forgive all our sins -- even the worst of them. For Jesus' offering, which makes that forgiveness possible, I give thanks. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries