What are some things you need to bring to God in repentance?
I heard a story about a thief who broke into an office building. He was able to grab a large sum of money from petty cash boxes left unlocked, various electronic devices that he hoped to sell through a pawnshop, and some clothes from a locker. He heard a cleaning person coming and took off, but he did not get very far.
You’ve heard the saying, “loose lips sink ships?” Well, a week later the police captured the man while he talked rather loudly (no doubt due to the ale he was drinking) about his good fortune and waved large bills around in his hand. Someone took notice and alerted the police about a guy not known for having it together suddenly buying adult beverages for anyone interested.
Following the burglar’s arrest, the owner of the building that he broke into took an interest in him. He learned the thief was an addict who needed money to get off drugs. So the owner decided to help the man by suggesting he go into a recovery program like Teen Challenge and he accepted. The owner even assisted him to get into a facility nearby. Nine months later he was “clean” and even decided to ask God to be the strength and guide of his life.
Next, the owner did something incredibly generous – he offered him a job at the same office complex he broke into.
“If he wants to pay off his debt to society and our company,” said the owner, “we would be prepared to offer him a good job on the condition that he stay clean and off of drugs. The company will keep a quarter of the man’s wages until he pays back the cost of the burglary.”
The former thief was shown grace by a man who helped him deal with his drug problem. He was offered a job in spite of his offense. And he repented and turned away from his former lifestyle.
Read Nehemiah 1-2:8.
Nehemiah, like the thief-turned-employee, repented of the sins of ancient Israel and prayed to God for mercy (1:4-11). He was allowed to go back to Jerusalem, the capital city of his people, the Israelites, and to rebuild its walls…to start its restoration. God’s grace moved in the heart of Artaxerxes, King of Babylon, who gave Nehemiah a new position. He went from being a cupbearer (and wine-taster) to being a governor in Judah.
Whether you can identify more with the thief or the cupbearer, both of their stories illustrate a path to help you make a fresh start, regardless of your circumstances. God has shown you grace in so many ways. Life, breath, health, air, food, water, parents, siblings, abilities, personality, opportunities, setbacks, strengths, second-third-fourth chances, and on and on and on.
Take time to reflect on how God has shown you grace over the past few weeks. In response to His favor, will you repent of the sin in your life and honor Him? Start this week with a change of heart. It is never too late to humble yourself and ask God (and others) for help.
You may have had a strange start. Walk wisely. A changed heart leads to a fresh start.
Love is a verb,
©2013 by Mike Olejarz