August 18, 2015
(Jesus said) "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand." John 10:28
In 1734 Antonio Stradivari made a violin.
Today, in various states of repair, there are approximately 550 of those instruments still around. One of them, a good one, was owned by a concert violinist, Roman Totenberg. When Totenberg bought the violin in 1943, he paid $15,000 for it. Translated into today's dollars, that's about $200,000.
It was the only violin he played, until 1980 when he left the instrument in his office while he shook hands with some well-wishers after a concert. When Totenberg came back to his office, the Stradivarius had disappeared.
He told his family it was "like losing an arm."
A report was filed; possible suspects were considered; the police made a search, and then -- when hope was gone -- Totenberg gave up, bought another violin, and finished out his life. He died three years ago at the age of 101.
That might have been the end of the story, but it isn't.
This past June a lady went to a New York instrument dealer to have her deceased husband's violin appraised. The dealer immediately recognized the instrument as a Stradivarius and, after further investigation, identified it as the stolen violin.
He called the police.
When confronted, the woman -- who knew nothing of its history -- voluntarily gave the violin to the FBI, which have returned it to the Totenberg family, who were incredibly thankful.
Now you who are regular Daily Devotion readers think you know where this lesson is going.
You probably are thinking I am going to speak about the similarities between the theft of Totenberg's violin and Satan's theft of our souls. That would be a possible comparison, but I'm not going that way. That's because the Totenberg violin was rediscovered by accident, and it was gladly returned. In contrast, the recovery of our souls was a definite plan of the Lord and to bring us home, God's Son, our Savior, gave His life to redeem us.
No, we can't go that way.
What I would like to talk about in this devo is the rest of the story. The rest of the story is this: Totenberg's three daughters have decided they are going to have the violin cleaned up and then they are going to sell it to some violinist who is worthy of the instrument.
That, my friends, is not what our Heavenly Father is going to do with those souls, which have been returned to Him through Jesus' sacrifice. No, He is going to keep those souls forever. Jesus said nobody will ever steal us away from His Father's hands (see John 10:29).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that Jesus has paid the ransom price which has returned the souls of believers to the Heavenly Father. I pray the whole world may know the security of the Father's love and grace. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries