By Ray Littlefield, a member of the STF-USA Church Association

I recently needed a new staple gun so a trip to a local home improvement store was in order. This time I chose the one where they wear orange aprons. I also patronize the blue apron store but their slogan; “let’s build things together” bothers me. Whenever I get my material home and start to work, I don’t find a single person wearing a blue apron standing there to help me. Anyway, in addition to the staple gun, I bought 3 boxes of staples. As I worked, I was surprised to find one box contained only 15 of the normal 16 rows of staples; but it did contain two dimes.

I wish I could have just continued on with repairing the chicken fence but those dimes set my mind to spinning. Would the staple factory do that? No way did that make sense to me. The home improvement store? Very doubtful. My conclusion was that likely a consumer bought the package, used a row of staples, added twenty cents to the box and then returned it for credit. (Yes, I did the math. Twenty cents was very close to the cost of one row.)

So were the added dimes a way to relieve guilt? That is a strong and worthy motivation for many. You hear of library books being returned years past their due date or individuals finally admitting to some long ago trespass; everything from stealing someone’s lunch, to murder.

Years ago I had a former employee call me and asked to meet. He came into my office with a new found Christian faith, an apology, and a box of tools he had stolen during his employment.

The urge to be clean, pure, and righteous before our God is powerful. Twenty cents or stolen tools by themselves won’t get you there but God has made a way. When one confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) they are saved. They have a permanent place in God’s plan for eternity. A bright future guaranteed, but the old man nature isn’t dead yet.

Jesus was tempted in all ways yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15); most of us have not achieved that; our old sin nature still tempts. But God has made a way to deal with that as well. If we confess our sins he (God) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

What a deal! And it won’t even cost you 20 cents.