Faith— 09/23/2021

“Caught Red-Handed!”

By Pastor Ron Buxton

The Bible makes a blunt statement in Numbers 32:23– “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Some might call it karma. Others would say “what goes around comes around”. But it’s a universally-accepted phenomenon. And it inspired me to write this article.

It all happened in a remote desert orphanage in Chihuahua, Mexico. And it happened so innocently. You see, our ministry van had a flat tire and needed to be jacked-up to replace it. Unfortunately, the kids–as most kids will do–disabled the hydraulic jack that was needed. And so, the van just sat in the driveway unable to be used. That’s when I got an idea.

Parked near our property was a large front-end loader left there by a construction company. It was the weekend. That machine would be idle for the next two days. Now, you might not know this, but I spent much of my high school and college years working for a municipality. I drove dump trucks and acquired the skills to operate almost every kind of large machinery. Thus, that sudden idea put my feet into motion. Nobody will know the difference, I thought. All I needed to do was find the hidden keys which I knew most operators never took home with them. And I found them!

Within minutes, I had that van lifted up and the flat tire replaced. Instantly, I became not just “Tio Ron”. Rather, to some of the little boys I became a superhero! Now, I wish I could tell you that I promptly returned that machine to its parking space. I didn’t. And that’s where my sin found me out!

You see, I proceeded to use that front-end loader to landscape the property of the orphanage. There were hills to flatten and arroyos to fill. But then it happened. I ran out of fuel. And I was nowhere near where the owner had parked it. Busted.

That following Monday I faced the music as the owner arrived in his pickup truck. Quickly, I walked towards him mumbling my apologies even before he could hear me. I promised to help him refuel and restart the machine. Now, for those who might not know anything about diesel motors, you need to bleed the system to restart it. And that can be very frustrating depending upon how old and rusty those fittings can be. Needless to say, we got the loader restarted. And then I looked at my hands. They were red from the diesel fuel. I had literally been “caught red-handed”!

Folks, truth be told, we’re all guilty of many, many sins. However, worse than red-handed, we’re black-hearted. The Bible calls that being “dead in our sins and trespasses” (Ephesians 2:1). But just like the forgiveness granted to me by my Mexican friend, Christ wants to fix that. We call that salvation. However, that forgiveness begins by first walking towards the Owner. Are you willing to do so?