Jamie Stanley loved watermelon. Mr. Grey grew watermelons. Mr Grey’s farm was just over the fence from the Stanley Place. All along the fence line of the Grey farm were signs that said, “No Trespassing!” When Jamie was a boy he had been taught to respect the signs and not cross into Mr. Grey’s watermelon farm.
When Jamie got older he fell in with a gang of boys of questionable character. They were determined to get a free watermelon. They begged Jamie to help them sneak in. At first, it was a mission for just one watermelon. Then, the more they talked, the more watermelons they decided they should take. Luke, the leader of the group said, “We can sell them at the market on Hwy 1310. I know the guy who runs it and he’ll sell them for us and won’t ask any questions. We’ll make easy money for 15 minutes of work.”
As they considered how much money they would make they began to think about what else they could take; maybe a piece of equipment, an implement, or some other farm aid that would fetch a nice price (no questions asked). Jamie wasn’t sure about all this. He loved watermelon but he somehow knew this wasn’t right. The lessons of his childhood nagged at the back of his mind. However, it was too late to back out now. He’d already told Luke and the other boys that we would help and he couldn’t loose face and appear to be afraid.
The night of the big caper came. Jamie lead his crew to the weak place in Mr. Grey’s fence. They were in. About halfway through the field they realized that Mr. Grey had already harvested the watermelons. So they turned their attention to the huge barn behind the house in the center of the farm. Jamie implored the boys to forget about it but Luke said, “We’ll get our watermelon’s and see what else is lying around in that old barn. We’ll be rich.”
The night was perfect for this. There was no moon and the sky was overcast. They quietly made their way to the barn. Once inside they each grabbed as many watermelons as they could carry. Then, quickly, back out, blindly tracing their steps through the field. That’s when they heard the back door of the house slam shut. Then, the sound of dogs running. It sounded like a hundred, none of the boys could see a thing. Finally, they made it to the fence but Luke stumbled and fell. His watermelons hit the ground hard and one broke open. Just then, they were surrounded by three of the biggest blackest dogs Jamie had ever seen. “Why didn’t you warn us about this!” Luke shouted.
Austin, Luke’s friend, pulled a revolver from his waistband. “What are you doing?” Jamie shouted. “Saving our lives,” Austin said trembling. He pulled the trigger and the biggest of the three dogs went down. The others turned and ran. Luke picked up his treasure and made for the fence. They were long gone by the time Mr. Grey found the dead dog and the hole in the fence.
If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour, Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. (Leviticus 6:2-5)
How often we trespass against our neighbor. We’ve all been Jamie Stanley and his friends. To restore fellowship with our neighbor we must restore the thing we took and do it before we can presume to approach the Lord. Thankfully, the blood of Jesus covers these sins as well. However, we can not escape the responsibility of going to our brother or sister and restoring to them the damage we caused.