A man retired in a small community, looking forward to more time for his woodworking hobby. He had always enjoyed the idea of taking wood that was once a living thing and shaping it into something new.
He believed he gave the wood a new life of sorts, because he took a lot of time with each object he made. He often made replicas of animals in the local area and placed them in various places around his home and property. The outside sculptures were treated to withstand the elements and stored in his shed during the winter months.
One fall as he was preparing for winter he realized that three of his favorite sculptures were missing. He was unsure how long they had been missing, but knew there was no possibility they had been blown away or misplaced. One was a giant claw and forearm of a black bear, another a massive raven, and the last an artistically shaped column stained in various shades of black. He decided that these must have been stolen, and debated whether to file a police report. He was secretly pleased to think that someone had liked his creations so much. After a sleepless night the man decided to replace the objects with new and better sculptures.
After much effort and time, the man had produced a claw that far exceeded the first bear claw. Proud of how realistic it was, he took several photos of it and sent them to family and close friends. He even decided to mount it so that it was in the posture of an attack. As it was now spring, he decided to place it near his wood shop so that he would see it on his walk to the shop each morning. Not two weeks went by before he noticed it was missing. He had failed to secure it like he had planned to, being too focused on the new raven sculpture to think of anything else.
He felt violated and was angry. The police report was filed immediately, and he had no problem making accusations. It certainly must be a close neighbor, to have noticed the new claw so soon. He had never liked the man two doors down from him. He was suspiciously curious and snoopy about details that should not matter. He realized that the man wasn’t just curious; he had been looking for sculptures to take from him. He told the neighbor this himself after the police informed him they had found nothing to substantiate the accusation.
He started counting the number of items in his yard, and noticed that an item disappeared each Thursday night. Strangely, he had also noticed a few objects that had been missing also returned on Thursdays; to include his black column. He convinced the police to monitor his yard for a few hours on Thursday in hopes of catching the criminal in action. On Thursday he had a hard time following his routine, for he wanted nothing more than to peek outside and see the culprit himself, just as he was taken into custody. Finally he settled into watching his television show and fell asleep. A knock at the door startled him awake instantly.
A police officer and a neighbor stood before him, but not the neighbor he had expected. It was his good friend’s disabled adult son. He recalled that on Thursday night his parents were out, and realized the connection immediately. The young man smiled at him when he opened the door, holding up a sculpture proudly. It was an object the older man had not seen for several months, the raven. Immediately he felt a flood of relief in response. He had really done well on his first edition, he decided. Later that night the man looked at all of his returned objects. His ‘thief’ had taken them as a game, placing them in a new spot to surprise him. Even if his art was not actually in demand, each meant a lot to him.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to reflect on the value of something already yours.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Here in Matthew 4:8 we see another attempt by the devil to cause Jesus to sin. In first looking at this verse it strikes me as laughable. A very high mountain, perhaps Kilimanjaro or Everest would work to meet the description given. Isn’t that going to remind anyone of the creator? Looking down at clouds and seeing the majesty of that place I can’t understand how it would not. But wait, if Jesus is the creator…how does that work exactly? What? You had never heard that before or never considered that – while I make it sound like fact? Well neither had I once, so don’t lose sleep! However, perhaps read on about what the Bible says on it?
“…who created all things by Jesus Christ” Ephesians 3:9 ends with that statement while Hebrews 1:2 (and others) also makes the same point. Continuing in Matthew, first the devil starts with nature, and then moves to the most powerful men of the day. But if Colossians 1:16 makes mention of “thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers” being created by him (Jesus) and for him (Jesus) I don’t associate that with temptation either. Dangling power that Jesus created in front of him? Really? Is that the best you could do? What this does tell me is the devil is bold. He is also unafraid to twist truth and use it, just like he twists truth with me.
I am valued so much that my life was worth a price. If so, then why am I easily deceived into thinking I am not worth much or that my mistakes are going to haunt me forever? I know better…but in the quiet moments of despair that truth is swept aside for a moment. I forget I am loved, I forget I am cherished, and I anguish inside over the regrets and pain I cause. I decide that God must be far since I am stained or I am selfish. That lie, although obvious is still useful to the devil. God did not leave me, and He doesn’t. All things are created by Him (Jesus) and for Him. If I look at it that way- that I have a purpose – and suddenly the devil seems wimpy again. Can’t he come up with something new instead of the same old tired lies?