The now old thief started reading from Isaiah and how the prophet told King Hezekiah to put his house in order as the King was soon to die. The man in our story, moved by the passage, now beset with stage 4 cancer, decided to put his own house in order as best he could.
The detectives found ashes at every "crime" scene along with the items. When they finally pieced together the odd, seemingly unrelated 2023 break-ins with the rash of "opportunity" thefts in 1973, and met with the "thief" (who had been charged in 73, but let go for lack of evidence), they asked about the ashes. The man said his father made his children write down their sins and burn them as an act of remorse. (Also a good picture of sins forgiven and forgotten.)
"Life keeps you busy, doesn't it though? Your priorities change and time just goes. One day you go to sleep a boy of 19 and you wake up a 70 year old man looking back on all the stupid things you did."
My father lived over 82 years. Yes, he liked Sinatra and the Brooklyn Dodgers. But he lived over 30 thousand days. He was far more than that. Every single day with its 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds. That's a lot of seconds to live over 30,000 days. We do the best we can to try and capture someone, but we must never forget the complexity of life and the moment by moment experiences that make up the full story.
“In the prime of my life
I shall go to the gates of Sheol;
I am deprived of the remainder of my years.”
I also remind myself that other people are more complex and have much bigger stories than I could ever know. They've lived countless minutes I will never know, but the Lord knows. He holds his own in His hands. Scripture teaches us that life is but a vapor, it is people and it is the eternal things that matter.
“Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days,
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You;
Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah
Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches,
And does not know who will gather them.
And now, Lord, what do I wait for?
My hope is in You..."
In 2024 may be renew our commitment to the eternal in light of the brevity of life. May we also remember that we have limited knowledge when it comes to our fellow man. When it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ, we must remember that they are God's ervants and God will be the judge of that service. For we are not the judge of another man's servant.
Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.