The Man Who Robbed Himself
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his [Jesus Christ's] appearing."1
Arthur Berry was a charming man who loved only the finest things life had to offer. During the Roaring '20s he was a master thief who stole from only the wealthiest people. Berry was eventually caught and spent the next 18 years in prison. After serving his sentence he moved to a small town in New England where he led a quiet life.
Some years later word got out who he was and his true identity was revealed and a horde of reporters came to interview the notorious thief. One reporter asked him, "Do you remember who it was that you stole the most from?"
Berry replied, "The person that I stole the most from was Arthur Berry. I could have made a contribution to society. I could have been a teacher. I could have been a businessman. I could have done anything worthwhile, but instead I spent two-thirds of my adult life in prison. I have spent a lifetime robbing myself."2
While you and I would never steal a man's property, we may steal his reputation through idle gossip. And while most of us will never receive notoriety through criminal behavior, I wonder how many of us have robbed ourselves in that, when it comes to eternal values, we have wasted our life investing it only in earthly possessions and things that have no eternal value. And when we stand face to face with Jesus our Savior, will have "nothing to offer but leaves?"
Remember, though, it is never too late to start investing your life in eternity and eternal values. As martyred missionary, Jim Elliot, said, "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to so live that my life will be an investment in eternity so that I will not be embarrassed at your coming or when I stand before you at the end of my life's journey. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV).
2. Rochelle Pennington, "The Golden Formula," Pathways Press. Cited in Bits & Pieces, July 2004, p. 5.