(Jesus said) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
Dane Rusk was minding his own business as he drove down a street in Regina, Saskatchewan.
That was when he saw "this homeless guy holding a sign," near an intersection: an intersection that had a stop sign. Finding himself to be in a humanitarian frame of mind, Rusk decided to give the man a few bucks.
He unbuckled his seatbelt so he could get at his cash, and handed the man $3.
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to do.
You see, the man's sign hadn't asked for a job, nor did it say he was homeless, nor did it suggest he was hungry. On the contrary, the placard simply read, "Not broke. Not hungry. Have a nice day." That last line was a nice wish, but that wish didn't come through for Rusk.
That's because the down-and-out homeless fellow was an undercover policeman involved in a sting operation. The officer radioed ahead to his fellow officers, and they pulled Rusk to the side of the road. In short order he was given a citation: a ticket for $175.
Can you guess the charge? Simple. According to the police and the letter of the law, Rusk had been operating a motor vehicle without wearing his seat belt. He was not alone. In less than an hour more than 40 others were ticketed the same way.
Considering the whole episode, Rusk might easily say that "no good deed ever goes unpunished."
If Rusk feels the injustice of the situation, imagine how our Savior must have felt. He had come into this world to save humanity from its damnable, sinful condition. The perfect Savior's life was an unprecedented act of love, which the Lord had set into motion to bring about our rescue.
In spite of Jesus' good intentions, almost from the moment He was born, He was hated. He was still a Child when the first attempt was made to murder Him, and He was yet a young Man when the last effort succeeded in nailing Him to a cross.
In between the beginning and end of Jesus' earthly life, He was misunderstood, maligned, mistreated and hated. He was falsely accused, called vicious names, was beaten, spit upon, whipped, and crowned with thorns.
Looking back, Jesus might also have said that "no good deed goes unpunished."
Amazingly, I have never heard Jesus say that. I hope that when He looks at us -- when He sees the hundreds of millions whom the Holy Spirit has saved through His sacrifice -- Jesus is pleased. I hope He thinks to Himself that all His good deeds have been blessed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times when I take Your suffering and many acts of kindness for granted. Let the Holy Spirit give me the ability to lead a life of thanksgiving and praise for Your suffering, sacrifice and glorious resurrection. In Your 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
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