September 18, 2006 ē By Ed Wrather
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:13-16.
I know it happens all the time and that thousands of people have had it happen to them; however, it had never happened to me until one day. So, I was still surprised when I saw an unauthorized charge on my credit card for $3464.40. I thought it just had to be some kind of mistake that someone had put in the wrong numbers into the computer and charged the wrong account. Wrong! Someone called a Home Depot store in Oklahoma City claiming to work for Ideal Homes and ordered $3464.40 in Lithium Ion tools. The woman I talked to had personally taken the order and had talked to two different people who had all of my credit card info including the security code on the card.
Hopefully, the credit card company will live up to its fraud guarantee and the charge will be erased from my account. I now believe that when we last stayed at a hotel in Oklahoma City that the security code was taken from my card at that time. The hotel is very close to the Home Depot where the tools were ordered. It was so easy for them to use my details, I wonder why it is not happening more frequently. There is very little to stop someone from gathering huge amounts of credit card information and then calling store after store ordering merchandise. My question is why is it not happening more often?
Several things are preventing more people from engaging in this type of activity. One, there are criminal and civil penalties if you are caught. Two, there is the restraining power of God among His people. Three, there is the presence of Godís people scattered like "salt" across the world to preserve the good and maintain morality. Godís people are also shining "light" into the dark crevices of the minds of people who would do evil things. It is a restraining force holding back evil.
Have you ever wondered whether you as a Christian are making any kind of difference in the lives of others? The answer is that the amount of light that you live out in your Christian life before others, creates more of an atmosphere where you are a vital part of that restraining power of God. Your life is "salt" preserving the world from slipping further into the depths of immorality. Your life is "light" helping those around you see how life can and should be lived.
Keep on being salty and keep on letting your light shine because it really does make a difference!
UPDATE: Not long after this devotional additional charges for several more thousand dollars were added to my credit card account for the purchase of cell phones in Seatle. It took some time just to find the right person to talk to in the police departments in Oklahoma City and Seatle but was eventually able to do that. I filed police reports in both cities and sent copies to my credit card company (American Express). It took several months before there was action taken in all of this but the charges were removed from my account. And...one morning I read in the Daily Oklahoman that the people that had perpetrated this crime upon me and many others had been caught.