Recently we had our car broken into. Between the damage to the car and the stolen goods, it set us back several thousand dollars. Not the nicest “Welcome to Australia” moment one could imagine. I can still recall the almost nauseating feeling in my gut when I walked out that morning to get in the car and saw the smashed window. I instantly and instinctively felt a little afraid and glanced furtively around me, half expecting to see the perpetrator(s) right near me. I felt violated and unsafe; and it had all happened in a flash.
Apart from the smashed window and disheveled car, the scene was perfectly idyllic. The sky was blue, the waves were lapping, and the beach was beautiful and beckoning. I even remember the birds (Magpies, to be precise) calling and singing. It was paradise! And yet, right here in the middle of my own personal paradise was this incongruous and violating scene before me. It was strangely unsettling. The world at that moment seemed so perfect, peaceful, and serene, and yet here was unavoidable evidence, right before my eyes, to the contrary.
I opened the door and glass pieces fell to the road. The inside of the car was a wreck. Stuff was strewn everywhere, the glove compartment was ripped off and barely hanging by the hinges. And there, in the midst of the chaos, covered in shards of glass, was my personal leather-bound copy of Ellen White’s Steps to Christ.
It is my most favorite book of hers.
The thief had left the most valuable thing in the car! He’d left the best behind.
I’ve too-often grabbed the goods of life and left Jesus just sitting there.
Oh, how I wish in his rush he would’ve grabbed it unintentionally. Maybe he would’ve thrown it into a bag with our binoculars and speakers. He would’ve gotten home to inspect his newly-acquired wares, and seen those words: Steps to Christ. He would’ve had a choice to make.
Who knows? Perhaps he saw it there the night before, while smashing and grabbing, and made his choice already. It was certainly sitting out in full view. It would’ve been tough to miss.
And Jesus is like that: tough to miss. There He sits, in the middle of our messy, broken, and violated lives, just waiting to be noticed. Just waiting to receive our attention.
I’m not a thief, and likely you aren’t either, but I’ve made the thief’s mistake: I’ve too-often grabbed the goods of life and left Jesus just sitting there. I’ve chosen the passing and ignored the permanent; I’ve grabbed the temporal and neglected the eternal.
I closed the door, and went for a walk on the beach. I needed to speak to my Father about the condition of my own heart, before I spoke to the police about the condition of my car.
It was a great and beautiful day, and I went on my way rejoicing (1Thessalonians 5:16).