Thursday, January 05, 2006

This Nickels Mine!

The other day I was walking through the church putting up tables when I stumbled upon a nickel. Childhood songs came to mind as I looked at the nickel all nice and shiny. Unfortunately, a nickel won't buy you much these days unlike the song which says, "I'm going to buy me all kinds of candy." A nickel isn't really worth all that much to be honest. Most candy machines don't even take nickels or pennys like they did when I was a kid. Even though this nickel isn't a lot of money there was a sense of guilt for putting this nickel in my pocket.

When I was a kid I would find money at church on many occasions. There was this huge dilemma. What do I do with the money I just found? Do I put it in my pocket or do I put it in the offering plate? There were many times I would reveal my findings to the Sunday school teacher who would encourage me to put the money in the offering followed by, "You found it in the Lord's house, which means it belongs to Him." This makes perfect sense. After all, it could have fallen out of the offering plate and somehow made it to the floor in the bathroom. So to take this money I found in the Lord's house would be stealing from the Lord. It would be the same as taking money right out of the plate as it passed by. I don't typically go over to any of my buddies homes, find money or any valuable object on the floor and say, "finders keepers." It's their home and most likely their valuable. However there are a few things I would like to take from a few of my friends homes...like Ben's TV.

Maybe you understand my dilemma. This struggle was so great for me that I would pass up money on the floor if I couldn't put it in an offering plate for fear the Lord would see me steal from His very own house. I would hate for Him to not invite me over again.

Crazy isn't it? Yet this gives me a better understanding of what those peole in scripture were going through. The religious leaders and pharisees interpreting the laws, then making laws based on the interpretations of the laws. It's no wonder so many people became frustrated trying to live a righteous life. It was impossible and nothing you do was good enough.

Reading through Galatians you see the church struggling with the same issues. Making rules and regulations based on past traditions or interpretations of interpretations of the law of God, which can only be explained by twisting scripture and principles. We come up with our own crazy rules like no running in church, you must wear a tie on Sunday, no tattoos, hymns only, or finding money at church. What an unneccessary heavy burden we place on ourselves at times. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I still feal a little guilty about putting the nickel in my pocket. But in this case the old saying is true, "A penny found is a penny earned."

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