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Where thieves break in and steal

The morning of the day Janice and I were leaving to visit our son and his family in Arkansas, our credit card company texted me saying that our card had been compromised. That’s never good news to hear but especially on a travel day. Still, we had a back-up (debit) card, so off we went.

After we arrived there, my son and I made a side trip to Texas. When we returned to his home in Arkansas, I received a text from the security people associated with our debit card. Someone had tried to use it to make a $1,000 purchase at Wal-Mart. Before that, they had used it to buy four $500 debit cards at a RaceTrac station after withdrawing $400 from an ATM there. All told, the charges amounted to a little more than $2,400.

I thought about how sad (and bad) it was that there were people who, rather than work to provide for themselves, let other people work and then they steal the fruit of their labor. Of course, they were stealing from us and the financial institutions, but they were also stealing from themselves. God created us to work (Genesis 2:15), and recreates us in Christ for work on an even higher level (Ephesians 2:8-10). When we don’t work, we lose out on the purpose and dignity that flows from it. Work is one of the fundamental ways we make ourselves useful to others and contribute to the world around us. Take that away and you’ve removed something substantial from the fabric of any culture. To create jobs and encourage work is one of the most important things any society can do.

With our credit card, we were protected from fraudulent charges but I wasn’t clear about our debit card and the security people couldn’t tell me either. The situation hung over our head for the rest of the trip, but all we ended up having to do was to go to our local bank and fill out some forms and that was it—we weren’t required to cover the charges made the people who had used our card. (Our bank was very understanding and responsive!).

We’ve learned some things from this experience. We’re going to use an internet payment company (like PayPal) online as much as possible to limit the number of eyes that see our credit card information. And speaking of credit cards, we’re going to back up our primary with another credit card (and not a debit card) because our potential liability is lessened that way.

So we experienced some disappointment, learned some things about financial management, and were blessed by some capable people who served us well. And we reminded ourselves of the transitory nature of possessions and how they ultimately belong to God and are to be used to His glory. 

In the end, all l I had to really had to worry about was explaining to the people at church how I lost $2,400 at a RaceTrac in Texas.

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