Chappy’s corner “A scoundrel or a saint?”

Two brothers were crooked business men. They made lots of money in their small town by cheating, lying, and doing everything they could to make a buck.  They were despicable, but very, very wealthy. No one in town cared for them, but then one day one of them died, and so the brother went from church to church trying to get a minister to do the services.  No one would. Finally he came to one church and told the preacher, “I noticed you need a new roof for this church. If you do my brother’s funeral from this church, I will give you all the money you need for the roof.  But, there is one thing I require you to state in your funeral message. You need to say my brother was a saint.”  The pastor thought for a moment and said, “Well we do need a new roof, and if you are willing to put the money up front, I’ll do it.”  So the brother gave them the money and the funeral was set.  Everybody came to the church for the funeral to hear what the preacher would say.  When the time came, the preacher stood up and said, “This man was a lousy, no good, cheating scoundrel but compared to his brother he was a saint.”

I heard that story in my home church on Sunday. I was there with my siblings as we celebrated my mother’s 95th birthday.  We had a great celebration, but as I heard that story I wondered how do people view me?  Do they see me as a “good” person?  How do people view you? Do they see us as a saint or a scoundrel?   How do you view yourself?  Most of us would say, we are not as bad as the fellow who killed all those students in Connecticut or as bad as Bin Laden?  But, the truth is none of us are perfect.  The Bible states “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  In God’s sight not one of us is “good enough”, but even though we are sinners, that didn’t stop God from sending Christ to be our Savior. The Bible also states, “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Even though we are not always good, God didn’t cast us aside, but continued to love us even with our faults.

Through Christ we are forgiven, and that forgiveness makes us “saints” in God’s sight.  Now the challenge for us is to live as forgiven people, to avoid the mistakes of the past and move on.

A good example of that comes from the sport of football. Jim Marshall a Vikings football player picked up a fumble and ran into the wrong end zone. Thinking he had scored a touchdown he threw the ball into the bleachers, the result being a safety and giving the San Francisco 49er’s two points.   Although that play is part of his history, he didn’t let that one mistake haunt his life, but went on to do better and greater things in football and in life.   In football he recovered 30 fumbles (an NFL record), played in four Super bowls, and was selected to the pro bowl countless times.  And in the game with the 49ers, Marshall caused a fumble that was recovered by Carl Eller who scored a touchdown resulting in a Vikings victory. 


So instead of dwelling on the mistakes of the past, may we move ahead into this New Year striving to do better! That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of South Dakota


CH(LTC) David Gunderson