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  • Shawn Thornton

A New Priority in Providing

Saturday - March 26th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:17-32

 

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28


A painting appraised at $160 million is back home after being stolen from the University of Arizona Museum of Art more than 30 years ago. The theft still baffles investigators. Ron Roseman, the nephew of Rita and Jerry Alter, unwittingly found the painting as he executed the estate of his favorite aunt and uncle. He sold all of the artwork he found in their home to a local antique dealer. After a few days in the shop, many art customers began to identify the missing painting.


The art dealer called the University of Arizona Museum of Art to inform them he thought he might have the missing painting in his possession. Sure enough, when experts from the museum arrived, they authenticated the artwork as the stolen painting. It was indeed the Willem de Kooning oil on canvas original called "Woman Ochre." It had been in the museum of art for more than 20 years before being stolen in 1985.


The 2017 discovery of the de Kooning painting left Ron Roseman (the Alters' nephew) perplexed. He could not fathom that his beloved aunt and uncle could have known what they had or ever been a part of its theft. Museum officials and investigators are not so sure the Alters weren't completely aware of what they possessed. After all, the painting had hung for decades behind their bedroom door. They could see it and enjoy it in the privacy of their own room. But, few others would see it because the painting was not visible when the door was open.


We may never know if the Alters were indeed aware that they possessed a stolen $160 million work of art. But, as followers of Christ, we do know that stealing or cheating others out of their money or possessions is wrong. It is a sin.


The Apostle Paul called on the Ephesian church of the first century to put off the old ways of the world and put on the new person in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24). Our old priorities would be to get what we want no matter how we get it. Our new priority would be to work hard for a living and not steal or cheat others out of their money. Paul takes it one step farther. Working hard eliminates the need to steal because we can pay. Working hard goes a step further. Hard work positions us to have enough for our needs and then be generous toward those in need.


Yes, Paul says we not only work hard to see our basic needs met, but we work hard to help others see their basic needs met. "Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need" (Ephesians 4:28). How about you? Do you see what you earn as God's provision for your needs and the needs of others? We are to work hard to provide for ourselves and our families.


Work hard to earn what you need to provide for your family, and then work hard to help others in their need!

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