My Run-In With Shoplifters


I stepped out of Home Depot just like I have done hundreds of times over the past few months. Before I even reached the parking lot, three guys and a girl came sprinting out of the store. At first glance, it was hard to understand what was happening. I thought these were just some teenagers goofing off. Then punches started being thrown and the guys were throwing each other to the ground. I then wondered if these people had a past with each other, maybe even gang related. However, there was also a car waiting right outside the exit. The girl already made it to the car and the two other guys were struggling with the third guy. It was only then that I suspected shoplifting.

As two of the guys continued to wrestle and fight, the other guy made it to their rather tiny getaway car. He reached around in the car and pulled out a crowbar. Things took a very serious turn at this point. Then man threatened to hit the third guy and began screaming profanity. The third man who was trying to stop them backed off and pulled out his phone, probably to call the police. This is when the comedic part of the heist began. The three perpetrators were now trying to get away. Two were already in the car and the third was trying to get in. He was skinny and pretty tall; I’d guess around 6’ 5” or so. The problem was, either the car doors didn’t work or the car was locked. So the man was left standing there, fumbling around with the car handles. Then the car rolled forward a little bit, the driver probably thought the man made it into the car. Instead, he had actually just rolled on top of the other man’s foot. So now, he was trying to get into the car, but the car tire had him pinned to the pavement. Finally, the driver rolled forward more, but the guy still couldn’t get into the car. At long last, they rolled down the rear window. I watched as this guy went face first and slid his tall frame into the tiny vehicle. And the car took off as the man tried to get the rest of himself into the small car. Thankfully, one of the ladies in the hot dog shop just outside the store had everything on video, including the license plate. It’s likely these thieves victory will be very short lived.

As it turns out, the man who was trying to stop the others was a Home Depot employee, even though he wasn’t wearing their iconic orange at the time. This man’s heroic actions might have slowed things down just enough for the hot dog people to capture the license plate.

After I left, I began reflecting on the situation and talked it over with some others. This employee put himself at tremendous risk. Was it really worth it? I mean, at most those thieves made off with around $1,000 in merchandise. Was that enough to put his body on the line? To the Home Depot employee, it was! He took pride in his job. He cared enough to stand up to those thieves. He was willing to fight for what was right.

This was a man who put tremendous effort into something that, in the grand scheme of things, is worth very little. Unlike this situation, as Christian’s we have things of eternal significance on the line! We are working for the most gracious, loving, and compassionate Boss (Psalm 103:8), and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to search His Holy Word to see what He asks of us (Acts 17:11). We’ve been rescued out of the darkness of our own sinful actions (Colossians 1:13), and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to lift a finger to pray to our loving heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9-13). We have been entrusted with the most powerful saving message in the history of humanity, and yet sometimes we’re not even willing to utter a single word of the saving message to help save someone we care about, much less those we don’t (Matthew 28:19-20).

The Home Depot employee was willing to put his life at risk for very little, simply because it was right. What are we willing to risk? What are we willing to give up? What are we willing to sacrifice? When we became Christians, we committed to give the Lord our all (Colossians 3:17; Luke 10:27). Perhaps it’s time to show it (Luke 9:23).

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