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Posted by: Trinity Bible Church | more..
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It was the last day of 2012. The air was festive as we await the passing of the old year and the dawning of the new. It was a holiday and I was excited to be able to finally play some tennis, which is becoming rare in recent years. I cannot remember what happened to the game (I lost most likely!). But what happened next was unforgettable. Upon reaching our house, I discovered that that my wallet was missing. I lost my wallet! This is the first time it happened to me as far as I recall. We went back to the tennis court (with my wife driving since my license was in the wallet). We interviewed the people there but no one saw it. It seemed to have vanished in thin air. Surely someone must have found it and decided to keep it.

I did not immediately report my missing ATM and credit cards, hoping against hope that I will get a call or text that they found my wallet. All hopes were finally extinguished in the evening and I soon forget about it (amidst the fireworks at 12 midnight). I reported all the missing cards and eventually got a new driver’s license. As the new year rolls on, it was soon forgotten.

Then today (January 19) almost three weeks after it happened, I received a text message. Someone has found my wallet! I called the person (her name was Czarina) at once. She narrated how her 80 plus year old father was gathering firewood in the Makiling forest when he saw my wallet. Everything was there except what little cash I had (no surprise there). Evidently, whoever found it got the cash and threw the wallet into the forest, totally unmindful of the damage it would cause the owner (yours truly).

She asked me to pick it up near her house. I drove there with some trepation (was this a hoax?). Should I give her some reward money (my wife and I agreed that I should)? What other motive could she have in returning my wallet than the chance to have some easy money?

I parked near where she lives, eyes darting as I waited for her to approach the car. Finally, I saw her walking towards me towing a little child, evidently not too well off. She told me (proudly, I sensed) that she saw my ID card and her child is a scholar of my organization. I thanked her profusely and proceeded to give her the “reward” money. She seemed aghast that I offered her some money. She immediately withdrew from the car. I tried to offer it again but she was very firm and slowly walked away. I felt ashamed of myself thinking that all she wanted was some money. I was rudely reminded that people are motivated not just by material gain but also by a desire to help others.

And here is the paradox of man. We were created in the image of God. As such, we see some reflection of His kindness in people, no matter how feeble. In theology, this is called common grace. At the same time, having succumbed to sin, we are capable of much evil and do not have the ability to save ourselves from the consequences and power of sin. In theology, this is known as man’s total depravity or total inability. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

If not for the person and work of Christ, all of us would have perished. But thank be to God who sent Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

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