March 1, 2018
Volume 22, Number 9
21-year-old Derrick Johnson of Waterbury, Connecticut couldn’t resist. The car in the parking garage proved to be an easy theft. Inside the car he found credit cards, so he helped himself to a meal at Taco Bell and some shopping at Walmart, courtesy of his victim.
How was Johnson supposed to know that the car belonged to a rookie police officer? The officer (not named in the Associated Press story) was attending his graduation from the police academy. A surveillance camera helped lead police to Johnson after he abandoned the car in a private lot.
Our reaction to this story should be that of concern for this young man whose life has somehow taken a sad turn. Most of us, however, can’t help but chuckle. “If you’re going to steal a car,” we might advise him, “try not to steal a police officer’s car!”
We feel pretty sure Derrick Johnson was shocked when he learned who his victim was. But did it compare to the shock of those Jews to whom the prophet Malachi made a stunning accusation? Speaking for God he said, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me!” (Malachi 3:8). The prophet went on to explain that by holding back their tithes, they were robbing God of the honor they should have shown Him.
Why should you and I feel that we owe anything to God? A psalm written about 3,000 years ago provides the answer: “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:2,3).
Why do we make car payments? Technically we don’t own that car until the bank who financed its purchase hands us the title. Until that day comes, we either make the payments or prepare to meet Repo Joe. That car will soon be repossessed!
How much better it is to “serve the Lord with gladness” because we are “making our payments”! By “payments” we mean living the life our Creator teaches us to live.
1 Timothy 6:17 contains an admonition we need to hear: “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Carefully note that last phrase: it is God who “gives us richly all things to enjoy”.
I warn anyone not to steal any car; and especially don’t steal a car that belongs to a police officer! But even that foolish decision doesn’t hold a candle to the one who fails to honor God who made us, who richly provides all the blessings on which we depend.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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