13th March: Stop Bedeviling


John 10:1-10 (Holy Communion)

On Sunday, a  tourist worshipped at one of the Cathedral services.

As she went up for Holy Communion, she left her bag behind. Perhaps in her own church, it is not in her habit to bring her belongings with her during Communion.

That was a mistake. Her bag was stolen, passport and all.

She was distraught. We felt devastated when we heard the news. Here is someone thinking that a church must be safe. Hitherto, her trip in this safe and beautiful island of Singapore must have pre-disposed her to think that surely the church grounds are even safer. 

We put ourselves in her shoes. Quoting another church leader, "Losing one's passport in a foreign country is terrifying. Losing it in a church in a foreign country is several magnitudes worse."

What's more ironic is that we are reciting "Thou shalt not steal" every Sunday during Lent. 

So, what is so wrong about thievery? Actually, most sins between human beings (which is most of what the commandments are about) have to do with someone being robbed, deprived or betrayed of something: dignity, rights, promises, trust, safety and so on. Daily, millions of lives in our world have something taken or yanked from them. It hurts and often, irreparably so. Some victims are children. Right at a tender age, they lose their innocence and are scarred for the rest of their lives.

This is why Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). 

That's right, to steal is to bedevil, willed from the very depths of hell.

This sister lost her passport and personal belongings. We felt deeply for her.  We pray that she will never lose her trust in the goodness of God and His people. But we know that there is a thievery which is far worse: losing our right to be a child of God and our right to life with Him in eternity.  

Don't steal. Don't follow the ways of the devil. And if you do, repent. Instead, walk in the abundance that our good Shepherd has promised us in this life and in the life to come.

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