Today’s Author: Kent Olson

Second chances and turnarounds are always great stories to hear. People who have ended up in the wrong place that are allowed to have a new start.

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A recent second chance story is connected to the tornado that devastated the town of Mayfield, Kentucky. A convict on work release had saved four people from a collapsed building. Seeing what he had done, officials tried to get him out early from his 16-month sentence for trying to steal a cell phone. But the convict wanted to finish his sentence because he knew he was guilty. Upon his recent release, he was given a second chance, a car, job offers. He had shown a deeper moral base and the community responded. He showed his happiness in the videos. This story is recent, so we don’t know the end. But given his first response to not take the offer of an early release because he knew he had been wrong; I think he will try to change his life. And the community has given him resources to start his second chance.

Barabbas was given a second chance. How did he respond? We don’t know. I remember a film long ago about the events of Holy Week. It was historical fiction in the sense that it started with the story we know in the gospels and filled in details. One of the details was of Barabbas. He was portrayed as the worst of criminals, a bad person. Upon his release, the film showed him finding an acquaintance who said they had been paid to call for his release. Barabbas treated him roughly and took his money. I’m sure the film producers meant to portray him as the opposite of Jesus. Now as I think back on that film, I wonder what Barabbas really did. How did he behave? Had he thought about his previous bad behavior and realized he had a second chance to lead a better life? We don’t know. 

Years ago, I enjoyed reading The Way of the Wolf (the one by Martin Bell), a book of stories and devotions. One of the stories was about the other nine lepers. One came back to say thanks, and Jesus asks about the others. The Biblical story doesn’t tell us what the others did. But this devotional author describes them as being so overtaken with joy in being healed that they raced home to their families, to the religious authorities to show they were clean, and other joyous activities. The devotion was written before the phrase, “second chance,” was widely used. But that is what all 10 lepers had.

How many of us have had second chances? Even if they don’t involve a release from prison? Modern medicine has given me and many others a second chance. What did we do with those second chances? 

Have we offered second chances to others?

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the chances and second chances we have had. Please give us the wisdom to take the opportunity of improving ourselves and the world with these chances. Please give us the wisdom and power to give others a second chance (or more). Amen.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.