It was a big mistake – and a sin – to steal the chapel collection, but whose money is it?


Alf is feeling a great deal of sympathy for the hospital chaplain who has been stabbed by some low-life plonker in Taranaki.

He is also absorbing the profound theological implications of what happened – along with the semantic lessons.

You could argue the chaplain contributed to the mischief done to him by trying to hold on to some money.

The ownership of this money could be in dispute. Was it the chaplain’s or was it God’s, and if it was God’s, might God have given it to an impoverished down-and-outer?

What happened has been reported by the NZ Herald (with greater accuracy, the Grumbles trust, than in their scribblings about the Liu feller).

A hospital chaplain has been stabbed after telling a man attempting to rob him “you can’t take God’s money”.

New Plymouth Police Sergeant Royston Betteridge said the attack occurred about 8.40am this morning at Taranaki Base Hospital.

“At about 8.40am this morning the chaplain was in his office in the hospital chapel.

“He was approached by a male [who] entered the office and demanded the offerings from the collection boxes and during that he was held onto by the offending male who was holding a Stanley or craft knife of some sort,” Mr Betteridge said.

The chaplain suffered some minor nicks to his face in the ordeal and to his arm as he attempted to shield himself from the offender.

The man also used another blunt weapon he carrying to attack the chaplain, Mr Betteridge said.

“He was demanding the money and the chaplain said there was nothing there to take and ‘you can’t take God’s money’.”

But Alf is a deep thinker about lessons contained in his Bible, and he brings these ones into considerations:

Luke 16:13 – “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”


Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

This suggests to Alf that God would not want the money.

On the other hand, Alf can see a damned good reason for surrendering the money to the assailant in this drama.

Luke 14:33 – “Concluded Jesus, ‘none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up everything he has’.”

Alf wishes the chaplain well, of course.

Notwithstanding Luke’s suggestion the dosh should have been handed over, he hopes the scoundrel is caught and banged up for a long time.

As for the words apparently used by the chaplain when he said there was nothing there to take and ‘you can’t take God’s money’, Alf suggests probably there was something there to take.

The collection clearly was real (unless nothing was collected).

If it was real, it was there for the taking regardless of its ownership.

The chaplain perhaps should have told the assailant he should not – rather than could not – take the money.

Telling him he couldn’t take it presented the assailant with an obvious physical challenge.

Telling him he shouldn’t take it might have hit a moral nerve.

Then again, assailants of this sort are apt to have a serious shortage of morals.

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