While pondering today’s Scripture, I thought it might be wise to chat with Mr. Burr, a reformed member of Renegades United to Steal, Thieve, Loot, Embezzle, Ransack, & Swipe. (Find them under R.U.S.T.L.E.R.S. on the NASDAQ)
DL: Mr. Burr, tell us about your former organization.
Mr. Burr: Please call me Rob. With the plethora of stories about stupid criminals or dumb crimes, we can have the impression that thieves are really not all that dangerous.
Like the story of the 2 thieves driving a 14-foot-tall stolen semi down the highway. They come a bridge that is 12-feet high. The one thief furtively looks around and says, “I don’t see any cops. Floor it!”
Even though R.U.S.T.L.E.R.S. spent very little on office supplies, our entity was very organized. Our objective on behalf of our clients was to ensure that people were in a constant state of dissatisfaction, irritation, or frustration.
For example, let’s say you were content with your job. We’d plant a story or some Facebook posting of someone in another career making more money or with more perks. Presto. Now our friend is dissatisfied and is more susceptible to a crooked “get rich quick” scheme or some other form of corruption that our clients might be pursuing.
DL: Jesus discusses the idea that thieves might disrupt our enjoyment of an abundant life. What do you think He meant?
Rob Burr: I think the abundant life can be considered as a life full of love; love for God, love for yourself, and love for others. Thieves want to disrupt this Eden-esque existence.
We could interrupt one’s devotion to God by planting doubts about God’s love for us (with Jesus’ death on the cross, you’d think this would be impossible – but it is surprisingly easy at times), or illustrating the hypocrisy of Christians (low-hanging fruit, since every Christian is imperfect), or even filling one’s schedule with so many activities that worshipping God is a burden (Like those that decide it is too cold to venture out for church but would later sit outside for an hour-long soccer game.).
Disrupting one’s love for self is even easier. If it seems that you are virtually inundated with a constant stream of messaging emphasizing your weaknesses, shortcomings, or less-desirable attributes – it isn’t your imagination; it is all by design.
And then we strive to interrupt one’s care for others. We can quickly create an atmosphere of disdain, distrust, or just disinterest in others, by encouraging selfish thoughts & behavior, creating envy, or just shutting out the needs of others.
DL: So how do we combat these thieves?
Rob Burr: First remember that God is large & in charge; thieves may occasionally have their victories, but it is always fleeting & temporary. Second, God thinks you are the top of the heap, pick of the pack, & the cream of the crop. You are His & He is thrilled. Finally, you were created with special gifts that are absolutely essential to His Kingdom; you are His #1 draft pick & He can’t wait to see what you can do.
DL: So, as we wrap up, I have to ask, what made you change your ways?
Rob Burr: I ran across an old legend of a gang of thugs led by a man named Dismas. This gang encountered Joseph, Mary & the baby Jesus as they were fleeing to Egypt to avoid King Herod’s decree to kill all the male infants. The gang was set to rob & kill the small family, but something about the Christ child made Dismas stop. He ordered that no harm must come to this family. As they left, he looked at Jesus and said, “If there ever comes a time for having mercy on me, then remember me, and forget not this hour.” Dismas, the story goes, would meet Jesus again. At Calvary. He was the thief hanging on the cross beside Jesus who asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus, replies, “…you will be with me in Paradise.”
Hearing that story made me want to know more about this man named Jesus. So, I started reading the Bible & attending church, joined a small group of believers, and now celebrate everyday that I am honored to be counted as one of His followers.
I guess you could say I’m still in the crime business – but now I’m helping rob people of their fears, their doubts, & their despair. If He could do this for me, just imagine what He could do for you.