Monday Devotional
Dear Friend,  
 
In a recent publication of “The Christian Century” magazine, Rev. Peter Marty tells about his uncle Mike who arrived at a conference a bit early.  The hotel was not ready for check-in but permitted him to leave his bags behind the counter.  When he asked about his jacket the concierge assured him it would be fine to hang it on the rack in the lobby.
 
As you might guess, when Mike returned, the coat was gone.  He reported it stolen.  The next morning he was walking in town and noticed a homeless man sitting on a bench wearing an overcoat just like the one that was missing.  The coat was obviously too large for the man.
 
Mike went up to the guy and told him that he had a coat just like the one he was wearing but that it had been stolen the day before.  The man asked where it had been stolen from and when he named the hotel the man responded, “This is it.”  He took it off and handed it to Mike apologizing for having stolen it.  He said he had been cold, knew he shouldn’t have done it and felt bad about it.  Mike gave him five dollars, took the coat and walked away.
 
Several blocks later Mike discovered that the coat was a London Fog.  His had been a Marshall Fields.  This was not his missing coat.  Mike searched but could not find the homeless man to return the coat.  Mike had to admit that this coat fit better than the one he had before.  But he was always hounded by the realization that this was not really his coat.
 
There are several lessons one might gain from this mistake. One option that occurred to me is the certainty that we are right.  In moments of disagreement we can take a position that we could not possibly be wrong.  It is easy to begin a conversation from the stance that we are right and the other person is wrong.  It is good to hold strong convictions.  But it is also good to approach any circumstance with an openness to listen to the viewpoint of the other person and the possibility that we might learn something.  
 
May your week be filled with new insights, a gentleness toward those around us and the willingness to listen with kindness to one another.    
 
Peace,  
Howard