Yep, it happened to us this weekend. The thing that makes your skin crawl, to think of a stranger with ill intent rummaging through your stuff. The thing that makes you every so vigilant about locking doors and checking them twice. The thing that brings about uncomfortable conversations with your young kids about the fact that not everyone in the world is nice, as you try to paint a view that is accurate, but not one that instills intense fear in their little hearts. That thing is being a victim of a robbery!
Sunday morning as I got into my car, I vaguely noticed Elijah and Abbey yelling about something. I mean they often yell, and most often, it's about something inconsequential. As I was yelling back for them to just get into their seats, so we could get to church on time, I noticed the envelope where I kept my tithe money was on the seat, and it was empty! Immediately, I knew that they were yelling because their brand new, Christmas present, DVD players, were gone from the car. I knew that someone had gotten into our car and taken their DVD players and my tithe money. I began to look around and noticed the mess. They had taken everything out of the center pocket, taken the money and left the rest on the floor. They had even taken some of my mints that I keep in the car. Abbey yelled, "They took my Little Mermaid towel!" What??? But they hadn't taken the towel, they had just gone through her backpack and thrown everything on the floor. Her towel was on the floor, safe and sound. I wondered what in the world they expected to find in a pink, little girl's butterfly covered backpack? Who knows?
We called the police on the way to church. To say that John and I were angry is to put it mildly. How dare someone take what we had bought with our own money? It was ours, and they had no right! Going into church, I knew that they sermon was going to be on one of the "Fruits of the Spirit". I thought, yeah, probably on love, being that that is the first of the list. I sarcastically thought, "Now they are going to tell me that I've got to love the folks who steal little kids' toys?" To say I didn't have a great spiritual attitude, is to put it mildly.The music began and I begin to silently have a dialogue with God.
Me: I can't believe that they took my kids' DVD players. I was so looking forward to peaceful car rides, where we don't have to answer, "Are we there yet?", or "How much longer?" fifty million times.
God: Do they really need them?
Me: No, of course they don't. But, Lord they took your money. It was plainly marked, "Tithe". They took it, and it belonged to you. What kind of low-life would steal from God? Doesn't that make you mad? They stole from you. It was yours!
God: Everything is mine. Everything you have, everything you see, it's all mine. I choose to share with you, because I love you. I love them too!
Me: Hmm, well ok. Since you put it like that...
As I've chewed on God's message to me over the past couple of days, I can honestly say that my eyes have been opened a little bit. If it's all His and on loan to me, then I have an obligation to use it wisely, in a way that will bring Him glory. If I don't, I'm just as guilty of stealing from God as the folks that took my tithe.
For instance, the most valuable things in my life, my husband and children. I have been given the trust to make sure they have every opportunity to know and live for God. I need to make sure that my words and actions point them to God. Do I reflect the heart of my Lord regarding his love for all people? Do I encourage His highest will for my family, even if it means they aren't with me, or are in dangerous situations?
What about my material possessions? Do I use the resources that God has entrusted me with to show His love, or do I hold back in fear that some of my needs might not be met?
What about my time? Do I fret over not having time for myself, and look for ways to achieve it? Do I take the time to pray and study His word, or do I rush through so I can get on with my list of chores?
I could go on and on. Sometimes I feel that, yes, I can say that I'm using God's resources wisely. Then other times, I know He's shaking His head, saying, "Come on girl, you can do better than that!" But, you know what? He still keeps right on giving! Praise be to God! Whether I use it properly or not, He keeps right on giving, right on loving me.
So the thief in me has been shown her error by a theft. Just another example of God taking something bad, and working it for His (and my) good!