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Since before I was born, I attended church often. Services often lasted 3 hours or more with such exciting features as Jericho Marches, folks rolling on the floor, grown men walking on backs of pews, happy laughter, and saints waving the answer back to Heaven with a white hanky. While the preacher lasted until midnight, this young boy was stacking songbooks and building forts. Sometimes a friend and I would play a game with hymnbooks by adding the phrase "in the bathtub" after each hymn title. As a last resort, I would doodle or sleep.

Recently Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA) was making unusual plans while the Pope was pontificating before Congress. Instead of listening to the message, Brady was devising a plan to steal the Pope's water glass when the session was over. Sure enough, as the leaders of the free world were exiting the hallowed halls, Representative Brady swiped the half empty water glass that contained the lip prints of the Pontiff.

The Congressman determined to drink a sip himself, and then share sips with his family and staff. He also intended to sprinkle some water on his grandchildren. It must have been his belief that the water had achieved holy status because the Pope had gulped from the glass during his speech. We do not know what spiritual benefits Representative Brady obtained. We do know that he received international rebuke, and a bill from the United States government for $3.94, the cost of the water glass.

There must be several lessons in this sorted story. For one thing, it is probably best to not be plotting a theft while the Pope is preaching on integrity and goodness. As a lawmaker, it seems inappropriate to be devising crimes against the government while being paid by the government and sitting in a chair provided by the government. Just saying.

Another lesson may be that God is not too keen on people trying to steal blessings. It is hard to believe that the Pope's water glass contained anything holy. That's just not how God works. You never saw Peter and John grabbing cups Jesus had used and sprinkling water on their kids. But even if the water were special, stolen favor just will not work in the economy of God. There is no Biblical precedent for success in stealing anything from God.

In the New Testament one non-Believer tried to cast out demons, but the devils just laughed at him. Then there was Simon the Sorcerer who tried to obtain spiritual gifts in an unspiritual manner, and he met rebuke. Try as you will, God still looks on the heart. There are no shortcuts to the blessings of God. COMMENTS?

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