I remember watching live in October, 1989 as the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants were playing game three of the World Series, the first ever between the two bay area teams. Suddenly the camera shook, the TV signal was scrambled, and the announcers nervously told us that they were in the middle of an earthquake. It was a fascinating moment to be witnessing, up close and personal, even if I was nearly 2,500 miles away.
I heard an interesting story recently about that game and earthquake. A San Francisco man had bought a brand new Porsche and drove it to Candlestick Park that night for the game. When the earthquake hit, the stadium was emptied, and that’s when the man realized that his brand new Porsche was missing, stolen from the parking lot.
Weeks later, his car was found–buried under the collapsed Nimitz Freeway, with the thief in it, crushed to death. The man who had stolen the car had “owned” it less than half an hour.
My first thought was, echoing the words of Moses, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Or, perhaps Paul’s words from Galatians, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that he will also reap.” That thief got was coming to him.
And then I realized it doesn’t always work out so nice and neat like that. Often the thieves get away with it, at least on this earth, and justice is not so swift. We all wonder, sometimes, like the psalmist, why the evil prosper and those who seek to do right often get the short end of the stick. But though we all have to face justice, it’s rarely so obvious as this case.
On the other hand, we have to be careful wanting such swift justice, since we would probably all have bridges collapsing on our head on any given day.
It may not be obvious violations of one of the commandments like stealing a car, but the below the surface thoughts and attitudes which Jesus made sure to remind us were just as sinful as our deeds. Either way, all of us should be grateful for God’s mercy every day.
One thing that the story illustrated for me was for both men who “owned” that Porsche. One bought it and drove it to the game that night, and the other who stole it “owned” it for probably less than a half hour before meeting his providential demise. But for both of them, really, it’s the story of every man and his possessions. They are all temporary and fleeting.
So many of the things we want so badly in this world, and even spend our lifetimes trying to purchase and accumulate, will be gone before we know it. That’s why Jesus said that we should all be sure that we are laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven, not on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves steal–and where freeway overpasses collapse in an earthquake and crush.
I hope you are investing your life wisely into that which really matters. You will never regret offering all you have as a sacrifice to the Lord, in this life and the one to come.
May the Lord bless you as you walk with Him and live for Him this week. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.