Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Thief Who Robbed Himself



“Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away

from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and

I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. “But you ask,

‘How are we to return?’ Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.

But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.

You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you

are robbing me.” (Malachi 3:7–9, NIV)


Sobering words… from God. They were his message to ancient

Israel when they turned back on him and stopped following

his ways.


Zig Zigler, well-known motivational speaker, tells the story

about a thief who was robbed. The incident took place back

in 1887 in a small neighborhood grocery store when a

middle-aged gentleman, Emanuel Nenger, gave the assistant a

$20 note to pay for the turnip greens he was purchasing.

When the assistant placed the note in the cash drawer, she

noticed that some of the ink from the $20 came off on her

hands that were wet from wrapping the turnip greens.


She’d known Mr. Nenger for years and was shocked. She

ponders, “Is this man giving me a counterfeit $20 note?” She

dismissed the thought immediately and gave him his change.

But $20 was a lot of money in those days, so she notified

the police who, after procuring a search warrant, went to

Emanuel Nenger’s home where they found in his attic the

tools he was using to reproduce the counterfeit $20 notes.

They found an artist’s easel, paint brushes, and paints

which Nenger was using to meticulously paint the counterfeit

money. He was a master artist.


The police also found three portraits that Nenger had

painted—paintings that sold at public auction for a little

over $16,000! The irony was that it took him almost as much

time to paint a $20 note as it did to paint those portraits

that sold for more than $5,000 each.


The man that robbed Emanuel Nenger was himself. We do the

same whenever we cheat or break the law—including God’s

laws—for illegitimate gain. And while most of us wouldn’t

rob another person of his or her material possessions, it is

very easy to rob a person’s reputation through idle gossip.




We also rob and cheat ourselves when we don’t give to God

and to others in need… whether it is of our time, talents,

resources, or love.


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, help me never to rob from

any person in any way, including myself, and help me

never to rob from you. Help me, too, to be a giver and not

a taker. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

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