In the 1980s, a radio station reported a story about a stolen car in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and the driver. They even went so far as to place announcements on local radio stations to contact the thief. Why was it so important for this car to be found? Unknown to the thief, in the front seat of the stolen car sat a box of crackers laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. The police, the media and the owner of the car were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car.
If you were that thief, would you take the public announcements seriously? After all, a prison term awaits the thief if he gets caught; the announcements sound like a ploy to flush the thief out; and the police are supposed to catch thieves, not rescue them. Then again, if the radio announcements had specifically warned the thief about the poisonous crackers, then he would have been very foolish to ignore them.
The dilemma for the police was twofold. If they mentioned the poisonous crackers, then the thief might be saved, but he wouldn’t need to contact them and could get away. If they didn’t mention the poisonous crackers, then the thief would probably have ignored them, and possibly eaten the crackers and died. The only option was to mention the poisonous crackers and hope that the thief might have a change of heart and decide to turn himself in out of gratitude.
God tells us the truth about ourselves, and our situation, because He loves us and wants to save us. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, and that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (Me), so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”
Like the thief, we can take the message seriously and do something about it, or we can ignore it at our peril. Like the police, God is looking for a change of heart and a desire to make things right. What will you decide?