Read thru the NEW TESTAMENT 2018
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids
Bible Reading: Matthew 21:23-46
Have you ever done something wrong…and then later, your conscience begins to bother you? What are you supposed to do about it? Jesus tells a parable that gives us instruction.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Sometimes, people do something wrong. Then later, after they have thought about it, they realize that what they did was wrong…and they try to set it right.
- Maybe, when they first did it…they did it without thinking.
- Or, they did think about it, but didn’t think it was really all “that bad”.
- Or, later, they had a change of heart and the things that they didn’t think were “that bad”, before…really do seem to be “that bad”, now.
- Or, they realize that what they had done was wrong…and now, they are always looking over their shoulder wondering if they are about to get caught.
But, for whatever the reason may be, they now begin to feel guilty, their conscience bothers them…and they want to do something about it.
Around 1811, the United States Department of Treasury (that’s the part of our Government that handles the money) began receiving money from citizens. Evidently, these citizens had stolen something, or defrauded someone, or done something in such a way that they had gotten some money illegally. Then, some time later, they felt guilty…it bothered their conscience…and they wanted to do something about it. But there was a problem. Even though they felt bad about what they had done…what they had done was possibly illegal…and they didn’t feel bad enough to go to jail for it. If they went to the Police and admitted what they had done…that just might happen. So, what could they do? Well, they just sent in the money, or at least part of the money, to the Department of Treasury. So many people were doing this that the Department of Treasury established a special category for this money to be put in. They named it the “Conscience Fund”…because people sent in the money so that their conscience would stop bothering them.
Over the years, people have sent in all different amounts of money, for a variety of different reasons, and in many different ways. For instance…
- Most of the amounts of money sent in are under $100.00.
- A 9 cent donation was made by a person from Massachusetts who had reused the same 3 cent postage stamp.
- A person from Jersey City sent $40,000 in several installments to repay $8,000 he had previously taken (that’s more than they took).
- Another donor sent handmade quilts in an effort to settle her tax bill.
- One person included a letter that said, “This check for $1,300 is to make restitution of tools, leave days and other things I stole while I was in the Navy from ’62 to ’67.'”
- Someone felt guilty because they had found some cash lying on the street and kept it. Now, they wanted to give it back.
- It’s not unusual for a person to send the money in through a lawyer.
- The largest amount ever received was $155,502.00. It arrived in 1990. It was accepted “no questions asked”.
- Sometimes the money is forwarded through a minister when a person confessed to them that they had done something wrong…and they were about to die.
- You have to wonder if some people are really sincere when they send in money. For instance, on person included a letter that said, “Dear Internal Revenue Service, I have not been able to sleep at night because I cheated on last year’s income tax. Enclosed find a cashier’s check for $1,000. If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send you the balance.”
The Fund received $5.00 its first year. So far, almost $6 million has been sent in.
Jesus told a parable about a farmer who had two sons. The farmer went to his sons and said, “I need for you to work in the field, today.” One son replied, “Sure, Pops. I’ll do it.” But, he didn’t really mean what he said and he didn’t do it. The other son said, “Whaaat? Me work in the fields. No way!” But later, he thought about how much his father loved him and all that he had done for him…and he changed his mind and went to the field and worked hard. Jesus then asked, “Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?” The answer is simple…the one who went to work in the field. You see, good intentions don’t count. It’s not enough to just think that you’re going to do the right thing. It’s not even enough to say that you’re going to do the right thing. The bottom line is…did you do the right thing?
Like those people who sent money in to the Conscience Fund…sometimes we say something, or do something, that is wrong. We may not think much about it at the time. In fact, we may not even realize it at the time. But then later…it comes to mind and it bothers us. We feel guilty. Our conscience is disturbed. What do we do? The Bible says that when the second son realized that he had done wrong, he “repented”. The word, “repent” means to feel bad about something we’ve done and to make a change so that we don’t do it, again. When the son “repented”…he changed his attitude and behavior…and went to work in the field. That’s what we should do. When we do something wrong…and then we realize that it was wrong…we should change our attitude (how we are thinking) and our behavior (what we are doing). If you don’t…your conscience will bother you.
- It can get so bad that you can’t pay attention to the things you need to do.
- It can have a negative affect on your friendships.
- It can cause worry, and stress.
- It can make you feel like you’re about to get caught…you’re always nervous that someone knows what you have done.
It’s no fun to live with a guilty conscience. So, when you realize that you have done something wrong…repent. Tell God what you have done. Ask Him to forgive you. Then make a change in your attitude and your behavior. Go to work for your Father in the field.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,