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A Letter to the Thief

Dear Theif,

First, I will change my language. I’m sorry for calling you “thief.” It would be best if you were not defined and labeled by your actions. For now, I will call you Jacob. Jacob was a man in the Bible who for many years was defined by his fight to get to the top. He was born into this world at the bottom and determined and decided that by all means he would get ahead, get to the top. This drive and hunger for success is a very admirable trait when aimed rightly. It is easier to direct a hungry man to success than a lazy one. But that’s a discussion for another day. Today, I will begin again with what I have come to say:

Dear Jacob,

You busted out the window of my truck and stole my backpack while I was hiking and swimming with my kids at the St. Edward’s Greenbelt off Spicewood Springs in Northwest Austin. I was enjoying some peaceful moments of family time and reflection and returned to this:

When I saw it I cried out, “Oh God, no!” This cry was a sincere prayer of my heart but I realize now, it was not a fair one. Not complete at the least. It is not God’s fault that you broke into my truck and stole my favorite hiking pack which included: an iPad 11 Pro with Magic Keyboard, a plethora of other small electronics, the recently signed Constitution and Bylaws of our church, and most importantly one of my most treasured Bibles, the one I was given upon completion of my undergrad degree at ORU. God is good! I know this and have continued to see this in my life and the lives of those who seek Him. So it’s not God’s fault alone, not in the negative sense anyway.

First, it’s my fault. I’m sorry, Jacob. I shouldn’t have left my backpack, laden with precious items, on the floorboard of my truck. I should have left it at home.

Second, it’s your fault. You chose to play the part of a thief. I understand you, probably more than you realize. I have walked in your shoes. I also used to break the most basic rules of life, thinking that by breaking the rules I was getting ahead. I was not. Even when it felt like I was going up, deep down I knew I was going deeper down. So I am praying for you, Jacob. I forgive you for your invasion and I am praying that this theft was your last. I am praying that in those items you stole, in the Bible particularly (in fact there were at least two Bibles in the pack), you will come to know my Savior. His name is Jesus and He has the power to heal your heart and so much more. He has the power to give you a new name!

Jacob (the one in the Bible whose name I am calling you by) one day he tried to steal from the wrong person. He tried to steal a blessing from God. God crippled him and for the rest of his life, he was never able to walk faster than his haltering hobble could carry him. The beauty of the crippling story, however, is that at that moment God also changed Jacob’s name. From what I read in the Bible, the conversation probably went something like this:

God said, “Jacob, you have played the role of a thief for too long. For too long you have lived up to the very meaning of your unfortunate name. You have tried to do for yourself what only I can do for you. Today you have even tried to steal a blessing from me! I will give you that blessing, as much for the sake of you as for the promises I made to your Fathers. I love you, Jacob. I always have. From this day forward you will be called Israel, because you have wrestled with me and have prevailed because I have prevailed over you. I have made you weak so that my strength can be perfected in you. I love your fighting spirit! I want you to keep coming back to me so we can wrestle. In this way, I will direct you and your descendants and you will be a great nation, greater than you can ever imagine.”

So Jacob (you, the one who stole from me that I am writing this letter to) I think when you stole my backpack you got yourself into a wrestling match with Jesus. If you have not realized yet, I am a servant of God, a pastor, etc. I’m nothing special, but my Father is, and in many ways, you HAVE stolen from Him (His name is God). Those tools in my bag, like the iPad, the Bibles, and the documents, were used for God’s work here on earth. For that reason, I am praying that this will be an encounter of theft like none other you have ever experienced. I believe you will even read this blog post one day and AWE at the Power of the Living God! He loves you Jacob, and wants you to come to a saving knowledge and life of abundance and meaning in His Son, Jesus. Truly! When that day comes, when you get that crippling blow from the Savior and wake up to the reality of His love, let’s talk. On that day I will embrace you as my brother in Christ!

Your Future Brother,


PS – We can talk before that day if you want! I am happy to answer any questions and show you just how much Jesus loves you. Shoot me an email when you’re ready. Shalom.

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