I sort of kind of remember an episode from the Little House on the Prairie books. It was in the book about Laura’s future husband, Almanzo Wilder. In his childhood he once found a wallet lying on the ground, full of large amount of cash. If I remember right it was several hundred dollars, an enormous sum at the time. Although there was nothing in the wallet that identified the owner easily, Almanzo did a little investigative work and was able to track down the owner and give him back his wallet. Every dollar was still where it was supposed to be. Now there’s a young man with some incredible integrity! He could have bought a lot of candy with the contents of that wallet. He could have ignored the hassle and just left it on the ground. Instead he did the right thing and I think God was pleased.
As God’s people we are called to look out for lost things. Take for example this command in the Law of Moses: “If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him. If the brother does not live near you or you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him. Do the same if you find your brother’s donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it” (Deuteronomy 22:1-3). Having lost a few things in my day I am quite fond of this teaching. I like the idea of living in a world where if I drop my wallet someone might care enough to bring it back to me. God shows us that to find what is lost and to bring it back to the owner is an act of love. God calls us to go the extra mile in reuniting something that has gone astray with the one to whom it belongs. (So when you hear the announcement guy at church start with “if you’ve lost a ring/glasses/car keys…” know that this is evidence of love).
How much more then when we see all these people living without God in the world! They are indeed lost. Their sin has separated them from the One to whom they belong. If we are called to have concern for a person’s wallet we are certainly to care about the one who owns it. If you see your brother straying do not ignore him. Be sure to reach out to him with the love of God. Whether he lives near or far, whether you know him well or just a little, be sure to take people back to their God. If we do I am sure God will be pleased.
Camden Avenue church of Christ