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Guard Your Treasure

As I regularly do almost every Sunday, I drove to a local variety store early this morning to pick up a Sunday newspaper (the newspaper that I have delivered publishes only from Monday to Saturday). The parking lot was at the rear of the building, adjacent to a busy side street. As I got out of my car, I noticed that the car beside me was left with its engine running and doors unlocked. I joked to myself, "This guy is lucky that I'm not a car thief" (something that we unfortunately have a lot of around here lately). I then discovered that he was lucky that I wasn't something far worse than a car thief, because as I started to walk around to the front of the variety store, I saw that in the unlocked, engine-running car was an unattended young child, about 18 months old or so, sitting in a car seat in the back of the car.

Holy Bible I looked around, assuming that the parent (at that point, I didn't know which, or both, left the child) was in the parking lot somewhere, since it's hard to believe that, especially in this day and age, anyone could be so (deliberately or unintentionally) reckless with a child's safety, but no one was to be seen, other than the people walking back and forth on the nearby sidewalk.

My first thought was to "mind my own business," but I also could not help but be very concerned that one of the next people who happened along this back-alley parking lot might be a car thief who could inadvertently take the child "along for the ride," or seeing the young child, do something far worse if they happened to be some kind of pervert. I wasn't concerned for the man's car, but for that wide-eyed little boy or girl who was staring and smiling back at me through the window. He or she seemed very vulnerable to whatever could have, and tragically does happen every day, every where, in the world that we now live in. So, I just stood there, near the car, waiting for the parent to return.

The parent may have intended to be gone "only a minute" (ignoring the reality that a criminal can steal a wide-open car, or child, like that in a matter of seconds), but I stood there much longer than a minute, actually somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes, before a man in his late 20s came around the corner of the building to his car, and to his left-alone child.

When he saw me standing there on the sidewalk within a few feet of his engine-running car that had his child in it, the expression on his face changed from carefree (which he obviously was, to have left his infant child unattended like that - which around here, is a crime) to one of great concern, a mixture of fear and hostility. It could well be that he misunderstood why I was standing there, and saw me as a threat.

My very "casual" appearance that weekend morning (faded Levis, a black bomber jacket, a dark-blue baseball cap, and a normally clean-shaved face that had been given a rest from a razor for a day or two) may have added to the effect, although automatically "judging a book by its cover" at any particular moment has very often been a big mistake during Bible History, as it surely has been, and will be, in Prophecy, when it comes to God's true servants, as plainly stated by Jesus Christ: "What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee." (Luke 7:25-27 RSV). Good or bad is not always a matter of appearance - see What Does Satan Look Like?.

I said nothing to him (I couldn't think of any "nice" way to say what I was thinking about him, and after all, it was "none of my business," right?), so I just walked away, around to the front of the store and bought my newspaper. When I returned, he and his child were gone.

Hopefully, hopefully, the in-his-mind "close call" incident scared the man enough to realize how wrong he was to leave his child uncared for, "even for a minute," a lesson that many otherwise good and loving parents have learned the hardest way imaginable, as the daily news often reports. Would he have left his life savings in a bag of cash in the back seat of his car like that? Very, very unlikely. But he left unguarded a treasure far more valuable than money - his child.

Fact Finder: Is God the "Father of the fatherless"?
Psalm 68:5


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