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Matthew 6:19-24

Les Miserables

In Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables, Jean Valjean serves nineteen years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. After his release, the bitter ex-prisoner comes to the home of a kind bishop, who serves Valjean a meal using his best silver and gives him a bed for the night.

That evening, Valjean steals the bishop’s silver and is caught. Brought to the bishop by the police, he expects the worst, only to hear the bishop say, “I gave them to him. And Jean, you forgot to take the candlesticks.” A shocked Valjean is brought to true repentance by the bishop’s extraordinary kindness.

How many people would be willing to trade their silver plates and candlesticks for the joy of seeing a broken life restored? We’d better not take a poll—we might be disappointed in the results.

Today in the Word, January 20, 1997, p. 27