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Theft….

January 17, 2014

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Each Wednesday a group of Ministers and Pastors from our community gather to pray. This past Wednesday for me it wasn’t as much about what we prayed for, but what I learned after our time of prayer.

Father Tom, who works with the Anglican group in town, approached me with some news. It seems one of the homeless men had taken some items from our church building recently. He wanted to let me know so that we could take the necessary precautions and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It actually explained a lot. It wasn’t that long ago that our cleaning lady came to me with the strange news that a large amount of toilet paper had vanished from the supply room. I thought that seemed rather peculiar. I mean why would anyone want to take toilet paper? Was someone planning on toilet papering a home and didn’t want to invest the money to do it right or not want some incriminating store receipt?

I was quite confused. Until Father Tom approached me Wednesday. And then it all made sense.

Now I have a little speech I give to people that I help from time to time. It is the speech where I let them know I don’t HAVE to offer this help. I don’t owe them and I’m not trying to score points with God or earn my way to heaven. He saves me because He loves me. I follow that up with we do this out of love for our neighbor and to give God glory. If you really want to hear it I will record it and put it up on YouTube….. I did’t think so.quote_sin

Anyway, I share that because I hate when this happens. I don’t care about the stuff, it was minor and insignificant and if our church kept someone from using leaves, well. Probably better for everyone. It wasn’t that much of anything. But stealing is not loving your neighbor and how can I, acting to love my neighbor, allow them to do something that is not loving without saying anything?

My favorite part of the story is that the only reason Father Tom knew of the theft is because all of the other men and women at the Abraham Connection Shelter reported his sin. The rest of the homeless were upset. How could you risk what we have for a few lousy items that you really didn’t need.

So next week I get the chance to preach to my homeless friends. I’m looking forward to it. We get to talk about being selfish and sins connection to our fall. How we believe selfishness will help but it is a terrible taskmaster, unrelenting, jealous and deceitful. I get to tell them the Good News of Jesus Christ. I like that speech a lot better than the one that explains that I don’t HAVE to help any of them….

Please pray for open hearts. Who knows, maybe next week is exactly what Jesus was looking for to call someone home.

God bless.

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