Gift or Graft? by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche. 2023.
Author: A Little Faith Lift…Finding Joy Beyond Rejection
AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Assoc.)

This wasn’t like Dave.  History had proven that.  My husband was more like a weed-eater or vacuum kind of guy.  Not a jewelry gifter.  But clearly, the evidence was proving otherwise.

The notice came in my Email that Dave had made a purchase at FDJ Claddagh Jewelry C. Jewelry for $134.98 and charged it on our credit card.  May I repeat…Soooo not like him, not to mention, if he purchased some gems, he would go to Bartelsmeyer’s in Fort Scott.  Still, I, unlike almost all of my friends, am not a jewelry kind of person. Dave knows that.

There was, however, a possibility that FDJ Claddagh Jewelry C. Jewelry was going out of business and everything was 99% off which certainly would peak my husband’s attention and probably persuade him to surprise me with some earrings or a bracelet or a jewel-laced bobby pin.  Yes, a possibility. But why would Dave put this charge on our shared credit card, the one that alerted me of every purchase?  He would ruin the surprise. A “senior moment,” perhaps?

All day long, I was confounded. What if this, instead of being a very generous, upcoming anniversary gift from my husband, was credit card fraud?  If I asked Dave, insinuating that it was, I would be admitting that I didn’t expect him to purchase a piece of jewelry. What a way to destroy his attempt to do something special! How could I be so heartless?  (Had jewelry stores sold battery chargers or leaf blowers, I wouldn’t have given it another thought.)

But what if Dave hadn’t made this purchase?  What if I let this go and the criminal who abused our card did it again and that person didn’t pay attention to the credit card alert and ended up going bankrupt and had to live under a bridge for the rest of his/her life?

I spoke to my girlfriend about it.  She said I definitely could NOT ask Dave.  Period.

I listened intently to all of her reasons and then…

I asked him.

He had made no such purchase.  Immediately, he called our credit card company to report the fraud.  His card was deactivated and a new card will be sent.

What I don’t understand is this:  how are people able to get away with this?  On the back of our cards, Dave and I have written “See ID.”  Why don’t the register attendants look at the signature?  Why are they so trusting?

I am grateful for the alert my credit card sent me. My girlfriend’s 83-year-old mother gave away most of her life savings (over $100,000) in increments of $10,000 when she was threatened by someone impersonating the I.R.S.  She will never get that money back.  She had no credit card company to alert her to the fraud.

God has used this situation to get my attention. It’s easy for me to fault a sales clerk for not being alert, but am I not equally as guilty, and with a much more serious issue at stake? 1 Peter 5:8: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. When we are not on our toes, when we stop looking to God’s Word for advice, we will find ourselves in danger much more deadly than a fraudulent jewelry charge.  Colossians 4:2 reminds us where we need to stay alert: Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.

My friends and I were talking about how we need to improve our prayer life.  Many times, our praise, requests and thanks are lacking in a heart-knowledge of the recipient of our words.  One friend shared that at a dinner party, a guest asked if he could say grace.  The hostess was thrilled he had volunteered.  With heads bowed, he said this: “Grace.”  And then he laughed.  I wonder if God did.


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