Romans 2:14-16 - For when Gentiles, who do not have the Law, by nature do what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the Law. They show that the work of the Law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.
Susan McNabb was having one of those days.
Amongst the things which had gone wrong for her was she forgot her wallet at the Walmart store in Clinton, Arkansas. When she remembered what she had done, she immediately returned to the spot where she thought the wallet ought to be.
Naturally, she feared the worst; the wallet had been stolen.
You can imagine her shock when she got to the Walmart and found her wallet exactly where she thought -- make that where she had hoped her wallet was going to be. McNabb did a quick inventory of the contents: driver's license, check; credit cards, check; $160 in cash, no check.
The wallet was there, but the cash was gone. Dutifully, and without much hope of recovering her currency, McNabb went down to the police station and reported the purloined cash. Amazingly, a few days later, the police called McNabb to let her know her money had been returned. Along with the money was a note which said, "To the lady that left her wallet at Walmart ... please forgive me as I always strive to have integrity, and that day I failed miserably."
As I thought about the crime, it occurred to me, all in all the thief had been a pretty good person. After all,
1. she hadn't taken the wallet and thrown it away in some dumpster. If she had, McNabb would have had to spend a long time trying to remember, and replace, all the things she had lost;
2. she hadn't taken anything other than some cash. If she had taken the credit cards, McNabb would have had to spend a fair amount of time calling in, reporting the cards as stolen, and replacing them;
3. she returned the money, all of it, with a note which showed she had a repentant heart.
To my way of thinking, and by my standards, this thief had been a pretty nice individual. Most certainly, she could have turned McNabb's life upside down: something she chose not to do.
After a bit, I started to wonder how God would look at the matter. I was pretty sure He wasn't going to award the conscience-bound thief a lot of points for not having stolen more than she did.
On the contrary, I think the Lord looked upon the thief as, well, as a thief: a thief and a sinner who needed the forgiveness which had been won by the Savior through His life, suffering, death, and resurrection. If she had that, the forgiveness she requested in her note of confession would be most real indeed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Your condemnation of sin is good and right, which is why I rejoice in the forgiveness of sin which has been won by Your Son, my Savior. In His shadow, may my life be spent glorifying You. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Ben Hooper for the UPI on July 27, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2018/07/27/Thief-returns-cash-stolen-from-wallet-with-apology-note/3271532714250/
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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