Last Wednesday evening as I was reading the back page of the Lancaster New Era, the following article caught my eye:
Thieves drill into cars for 'liquid gold'
The Associated Press
DETROIT -- Dale Fortin is getting a new kind of customer at his Detroit auto repair shop, customers who have not just been in a fender-bender or had a windshield smashed by a rock. The soaring price of crude oil has turned gas tanks into a cache of valuable booty, and Fortin has replaced several tanks punctured or drilled by thieves thirsting for the nearly $4-a-gallon fuel inside. "That's the new fad," said the co-owner of Dearborn Auto Tech in Detroit. "I'd never seen it before gas got up this high."
While gas station drive-offs and siphoning are far more common methods of stealing gas, reports of tank and line puncturing are starting to trickle into police departments and repair shops across the country. Some veteran mechanics and law enforcement officers say it's an unwelcome return of a crime they first saw during the Middle East oil embargo of the early 1970s.
Little did I realize as I was reading that article that our church would become a victim of this very crime. The crime was discovered early this past Sunday morning when one of our staff went to move one of our church vans. It was parked near the main entrance of the church and he was moving it to a more "remote" location in our parking area. Smelling gasoline, he looked under the van only to see a screwdriver protruding from the gas tank. Someone had punctured the tank with the tool and attempted to collect the gasoline that flowed from the hole.
This criminal act is just a reminder of the sinful nature of humanity. Not only did these thieves steal they vandalized AND they did it against a church! A non profit organization that seeks to give back to the community. As a result of their actions, we are not only "out" the gas that was stolen, we must also pay to have the gas tank repaired or replaced.
But before I get all bent out of shape about the sinfulness of the perpetrator(s) - I must look into the mirror of the Word of God myself. Even though God in Christ has saved me from the penalty of sin, the presence of sin is still with me. I still sin in what I say (and sometime what I fail to say!) and in what I do (and why I do what I do) and what I don't do. Every follower of Christ must realize when we are victimized by the sins of others - that we also victimize those around us with our sin. But praise God that we are FORGIVEN. And because the Holy Spirit is now living with us, He can (and WILL) enable us to rid ourselves of sin as we prayerfully depend upon Him. We will never be totally sinless in this world ... but we can be more holy tomorrow than we are today ... all by HIS grace and for HIS glory!
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