Not I Who Robbed

Published 3:47 pm Saturday, July 22, 2023

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By Michael J. Brooks

It was a mission of mercy with an act of larceny.

My wife suggested I visit a relative in Tennessee. I responded as I normally do with, “When do I have time?” But on further reflection, she was right. My relative’s wife has dementia and is in hospice care, and I’d not seen them in some time. So, I left after church and afternoon meetings on Sunday, determined to drive as far as Memphis that evening and spend the next day visiting with them.

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On Monday morning I went to the motel parking lot to retrieve my hygiene bag. I found it on the ground and my front passenger window was broken. Three of us were burglarized that night. One victim left the property earlier, but I talked with the gentleman parked next to me. He said the intruder found his gun in the glove box and took it. He surmised that his pistol would probably bring several hundred dollars in quick cash. The only thing the thief found in my car was the bag with my toothbrush and soap dish, and nothing else was disturbed. 

Fortunately, I had my laptop in the room and not in the car.

The insurance company made an appointment for me later in the week back in Birmingham since it took that long to get the glass ordered. The agent directed me that morning to the local glass company in Memphis for a “wrap.” This is what they call the plastic covering that keeps out heat and humidity until the glass is replaced. I’d seen this before but never knew it had a name. What I discovered is at 40 mph and above, it’s very noisy! 

I drove fairly slowly back home and since then have had the repair done.

It was the first time I’ve ever had a break-in, so, all things considered, I’m fortunate.

My relative wanted to talk about death, dying and funerals, so I believe it was a helpful visit. He then asked me if I’d return and conduct the eventual funeral, and I replied that I’d do anything that was needful for them. Thus, my wife was right, as she usually is, and I needed to make this journey.

My loss reminded me of a well-known Bible commentator of another generation, Matthew Henry, who reflected rather insightfully when his wallet was stolen. The details aren’t recorded, but his words are classic.

“Let me be thankful,” he said, “first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.” 

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is