Costly Mistakes

It was 25 years ago, but still whenever I see a combine in the fields the memories return. I was a city boy with his first summer job on a country farm. It was all going well, until the day the harvest started.

The contractor arrived with his shiny green combine and got to work on a field of oats. I was ready with a tractor and trailer. ‘Don’t keep him waiting’ were the last words in my ear as I settled down to wait. I was determined not to.

The auger was extended, and in a flash, I started the engine and I was on my way. To save time I decided to head straight into the field over a small bump. ‘Great idea’, I thought, but then ‘bang!’. I’d judged it wrong. The skid of the trailer was buried in the ground, totally stuck.

It took several hours to dig the trailer out. As I tended to my wounded pride I was conscious of two things: contractors don’t stand around for nothing; and my mistake had cost the farmer – yet he didn’t make me pay.

I was thinking the same thing just a couple of weeks later. It had been my job to put the wheel back on the tractor after a puncture repair, yes that was my fault too. I thought the nuts were tight enough, but they weren’t. A few days later the tractor ground to a halt with a grinding screech. New parts, hours of labour and a hired tractor were the cost of my mistake. Yet again, the farmer didn’t make me pay.

Why am I writing this? The Bible tells us that just before Jesus died on the cross, he said these words, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). What does he mean by that? The word used is one found on first century receipts. It means, ‘paid in full’.

The Bible tells me I’ve made mistakes. It speaks about sin. Now sin is more than just breaking some rules. In the Bible God is seen as the King. To sin is to rebel against him; to decide to live our way not his. Yet, on the cross we see God, in the person of his Son, paying the price for those mistakes.

For me, that’s amazing news. I’ve messed up in so many ways. But because of Jesus, the Bible says I can be forgiven. What do you think? Does it sound like good news to you?

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