Warning! Juice Drinking Thief

Warning! Juice Drinking Thief
By Peter M. Lee
An alumnus of Regent College, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Graduated from MCS in 1998

This afternoon, a customer purchased a glass of orange juice with a 100 dollar bill. Shortly after, the police came by, and we discovered that the bill was a counterfeit. We had been cheated by 100 dollars. Apparently, this fellow had ridden a taxi, and visited a few shops before ours. Everyone was out by 100 dollars.

The experience was shocking to know that someone would be so devious with a smile; however, it proved to be a valuable teaching experience. The exchange of unauthentic, fake items is a common occurrence, yet we do not recognize it as such until a counterfeit thief comes along to wake us all up.

The cheating that goes on is with our words. Words that are supposed to communicate often are used to conceal. For example, a simple “How are you today?” seldom ever comes back with something honest, something real. Instead, niceties are given. That is what we got this afternoon – a nice hundred dollar bill.

To be real however is not easy. Real things are often dirty, wrinkled, and unpleasant to handle, but they are authentic, genuine, and valuable. The reality of life is seldom neat and clean, yet somehow no one really wants to recognize it when asked, and responds “Fine thanks, and you?”

The thief this afternoon has robbed us of money, but whether we let it be a bad thing or not is up to us. If we could pay someone money to bring about awareness and courage to be real to people, and to treat people as real, sharing or listening to them, it would be worth far more than a few hundred dollars. The next time someone comes in to ask “How are you?”, how will you respond?

God will deal with the juice drinking thief one day, so we can rest assured that justice will be served, however, not all is good with this experience. The bad and sad thing is that there is someone out there who is lying, stealing and robbing people right under their noses. Is that what we are doing with each other? Maybe many of us are just like the juice drinking robber we had today, robbing one another of the chance to engage in a conversation between two real people.

By faith, I give thanks to God for bringing the thief our way this day. God used him as a messenger to remind us not to cheat one another of the things that God can do in and through us as we interact with people: real people.