At first I thought they were cleverly disguised gospel tracts, leaning against the wall on the check stand counter. Christians occasionally leave them around the store, hoping to entice someone to pick them up and read them. But when I picked them up and flipped them over, I discovered there was no gospel message on their opposite side. They were real, crisp, fifty-dollar bills.

Oh, how those new-style notes, with their red and blue imprints, enticed me. Before I could think of anything else, I jerked my gaze upward to Lisa, the team leader who was closing another register. She hadn’t noticed what I had found, but that made no difference to my reaction.

“Lisa … I don’t think these are supposed to be here,” I said with involuntary alarm in my voice. Before she could reply, I held them straight out in front of myself and did not pass Go, did not collect one hundred dollars, but marched directly over to her. Those fifty-dollar bills scared me, and I wanted to get them out of my hand as if they were a hot potato.

Why did these two pieces of paper frighten me so? It wasn’t the fact that they were legal tender, completely negotiable to the holder; I handle money all day. Instead, it was the possibility that I might disappoint the one person I love more than all life, the person who turned his back on his divinity to become like me in my temptations and my mortality. I couldn’t bear the thought of possibly bringing a reproach on his name, of causing his disgrace, of becoming a stumbling block for anyone who might discover my dishonesty—regardless how unlikely that might be.

Jesus is indeed my Savior and my Lord. But he is also my Transformer, the Master Craftsman who is rebuilding every part of my being that I am willing to give him. It is not enough to be a sinner saved by grace. I must be a sinner made gracious by his love, his council and his example.


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