From an unknown author comes this article. Listen to this please.
I would never have dreamed he was a thief. Our acquaintance had all been so friendly and casual. It started one evening at my front door. It was a Tuesday in August. “An entertainer turned salesman,” was his smiling approach to me. But I was not one to be taken off guard so easily. I prodded him about his background. “Who are you with?” I asked. It came out that he had ties with several of the largest distilleries. He also had an account with a prosperous tobacco company. “At present,” he continued, “I’m an agent for a leading national magazine.”
So I let him come into the living room and listened to him for a couple of hours. On learning of his connections, I took pains to tell him of my Christian faith and love for Christ.
“There is no place in my life for such things as liquor or tobacco,” I told him deliberately. “As a Christian, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” I was sure these words would bother or affront him. But no, he was totally undisturbed by my convictions. He would hold his views, I could hold mine. This status quo was to mark our subsequent discussions.
In a light-hearted moment he slipped off on an off-colour story. I was quick to inform him such things did not go in my home. In fact, I cut him off sharply.
As you may imagine, I had reservations on the truth of many of his stories. Still, I must admit his experiences often excited me. After having an interesting evening together I invited him to come back the following night. “It may have a helpful influence on him,” was my naive hope.
It took my wife’s words to remind me that his return visit conflicted with our church’s mid-week prayer meeting. “I should attend,” I confessed, “but I must stand by the invitation I have given this friend.” I shared with her some of the things he had said to me. Well, to put it lightly, she was reluctant to accept him. “I just don’t trust him,” she would say. She grew steadily more concerned as he took up more and more of our family life.
My entire day was boring in comparison with my evenings with this character. He had an imagination that was captivating. I would sit and laugh myself sick at all his crazy experiences.
There were other times that my hair would stand on end. His scrapes with the FBI and the law were absolutely breath taking.
If his stories were true, he was also an “extra” in motion pictures. But he couldn’t talk about this without including sex. This forced me to cut him off time and time again.
Then he began to affect my teenage son, Charles, and my nine-year-old daughter, Eloise. They just couldn’t wait to catch his latest quip or some hair-raising tale. They would have stayed up all hours if we had allowed it. All this distraction was hurting their studies and did their health little good. I began to worry about this fellow’s presence in our home.
And then it came. The “straw that broke the camel’s back.” One day, several of my best books turned up missing. I searched in vain for them. “This fellow may be something of a thief,” I concluded. “If he is,” I continued, “who can tell what else he’s taken from us.”
It all looked very suspicious. The next day I was so wrought up about it that I decided to check on him next door. Sure enough, he had taken things there too. At one friend’s home I noticed no more Christian magazines. In another the Bible had disappeared.
I was amazed at his subtle manoeuvres. In one home he had entered as a religious teacher. Another neighbour, a salesman down the block, knew him as an efficiency expert. “He’s showing me the latest gimmicks.” “He certainly has a lot of ways of getting in,” I concluded.
At long last I realised that my visitor was afflicted with kleptomania. Like an inveterate thief he had stolen my books, magazines and time. But the chief things missing were my close fellowship with Christ and the evenings spent in talking with my friends and family. I’m sure that others are having similar experiences.
Some have lost things of real value, not trifles, but precious family things they once enjoyed together. Spiritual, social and intellectual experiences have been taken from them, replaced by only a moment’s crackpot amusement.
This fellow is not at our home now. Though, if I could keep him in his place, he would be quite harmless to have around. Kleptomaniacs are not always deliberately bad. Even this one might profitably drop in with tidbits of news and a light word or two. But you must keep your eyes open, or such a person will continually steal things from you.
His name escapes me, but I will never forget his initials. They were, “T.V.”
I wonder: what has T.V. stolen from you? Time? Devotions? Good reading? Wholesome conversation? Church attendance? Check your list and see. You may be very surprised at what you’ll find missing.
End of article. Now you think about it.