“In all cases of stolen goods, whether oxen, donkeys, sheep, clothing, anything in fact missing of which someone says, ‘That’s mine,’ both parties must come before the judges. The one the judges pronounce guilty must pay double to the other." (22:9)
It was 1981. All my belongings were packed up in boxes, lined up by my front door. Everything - except my 35mm Minolta camera. I had left it sitting on top of the boxes, easily able to use in taking pictures on another part in the journey of life.
Opening the door after work, I was excited to get started with my move, yet something seemed out of sorts.
The air in the apartment seemed "disturbed". The door had been locked, nothing was moved, boxes weren't opened - I couldn't place my finger on what was wrong. And then it clicked.
My camera was gone.
After going through everything, including my car, I determined it was the only thing missing. When the policeman came, took in the situation, and sat down to write out the report, he told me it looked like someone I knew had stolen it. Whoever had come in knew my schedule, some facts about my lock, and that I would be moving out that day. He also said in every case - 9 times out of 10 - it is someone you know. Someone you trust. Someone you wouldn't suspect. Someone who is involved in your life. He asked me if anyone came to mind who would take it.
Instantly I thought of the husband of a good friend whom I worked with. This man was involved with reenactments of the civil war and had asked to borrow it to take pictures during a "battle" that was coming up. I had said no. It was an expensive camera which I used often and I didn't want anything to happen to it. The friend I worked with also was one of the few who knew about my front lock. It could be opened with a credit card and there had been a couple of occasions when she watched while I borrowed her card to get in, as I had forgotten my keys. The policeman agreed because the man had an interest in my camera, he knew my schedule, the lock, and that my camera was the only thing missing - he probably was the one who took it.
Unfortunately, there wasn't any physical proof.
He also said the truth will come out - eventually. I may or may not witness it, but it does come out.
To this day - I still haven't proof of what happened to my camera.
It is very unlikely my camera will come into play at judgment.
Through my walk with Him, I know - it isn't about the stuff.
All is to be about Him.
Looking back, I think about if I have used my gifts and talents for Him.
All of my sins have been covered by the blood of Christ. He is my defense lawyer and when my time comes for being judged - He has already claimed me - covered me - written my name in the Book of Life. Written it in His blood.
Without a doubt The Bible is very clear that everybody, believer and unbeliever alike, will someday stand before Christ to be judged. But the good news for the believer is our judgment will not be to determine if we are cast into the lake of fire, because that was settled once we believed and accepted Christ, becoming “children of God.”
Those who are truly saved have benefited from the great exchange in which our sins are accounted to Christ and His righteousness is imputed to us. So, while our salvation is secure in Christ we will “still give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:12), and should strive to do all things for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
As I reflect back on my life before I accepted Him as my Savior, it is my prayer He had someone in His family came along and witness to the many in my path, whom I failed to be a witness to for Him. I see now, it isn't about the "stolen goods". It is about those "stolen moments".
The "stolen moments" when I decide to serve "self" and not Him.
How I rejoice knowing that because of Him the "old me" is no longer. The way I am to live my life out for Him is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, "Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27). My job is "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19,20)
So, how many times of being "on the job" have I "stolen" from Him? How many persons has He placed in my life when I didn't do my job for Him?
The "new me" in Him - one He has entrusted with the knowledge, has drawn me into an intimate relationship with Him, one who He is involved with, one who He calls "friend", "my child", "His Beloved".
"Me" - who is now being totally honest - I still have stolen moments from Him to serve my "self".
The command He gave me in Matthew is "as I go", "as I live" - there is not such a thing as being "off the clock".
The Holy Spirit is my Helper. I look upon Him in training me to do this job to the best of my abilities. Abilities which often fall short. I rely on Him to step in and lift me up, encourage me, develop me to do this job. This job that I can not do on my own. I stand in faith He will always be there for me to work along side of.
My supervisor who is molding and training me for what is best. Not only for Himself or the job, but also for "me".
He has so transformed my heart since I first took on "this job". I used to worry about how I looked in my performance, my product, all about "me". And now - it is becoming, more and more, all about His Glory. It has become more about when I get to the Judgment Day and hearing Him speak to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant".
Not for my glory, not to please me - to please Him.
For His glory.
To bring joy to His heart because of all the joy He has brought to me.
It is about falling head over heels in love with Him.
In Revelation 4:9-11 there is such a dramatic image: twenty-four enthroned elders, robed in white and wearing crowns of gold, sit in a circle around the great throne of God. Giving glory and honor and thanks to The One who sits on the throne, they worship Him and cast down their crowns before Him.
This scriptural image can be seen as a wonderful metaphor for the whole concept of servant-leaders: ones who, although wearing the crowns of elders, cast them down in service, love, honor, and praise of The One who is their reason for being, their center, their heart, their Home.
Living with no more "stolen moments".