The Ill-Gotten Deed

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#92: “The Ill-Gotten Deed”
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Scripture
Romans 12:19-21
19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.20On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.==Chapter 13==1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.8Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.9The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."10Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.11And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.==Chapter 14==1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.2One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.4Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.11It is written: "'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'"12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.14As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.15If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.16Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.17For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,18because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.19Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.20Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.21It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.22So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.23But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.==Chapter 15==1We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.2Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.3For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs9so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: "Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name."10Again, it says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people."11And again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples."12And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.14I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.15I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.17Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God.18I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done--19by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.20It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation.21Rather, as it is written: "Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand."22This is why I have often been hindered from coming to you.23But now that there is no more place for me to work in these regions, and since I have been longing for many years to see you,24I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.25Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there.26For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.27They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews' spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.28So after I have completed this task and have made sure that they have received this fruit, I will go to Spain and visit you on the way.29I know that when I come to you, I will come in the full measure of the blessing of Christ.30I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.31Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there,32so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed.33The God of peace be with you all. Amen.==Chapter 16==1I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea.2I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me.3Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.4They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.5Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.6Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you.7Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.8Greet Ampliatus, whom I love in the Lord.9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.10Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the household of Aristobulus.11Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.12Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too.14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas and the brothers with them.15Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them.16Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.20The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.21Timothy, my fellow worker, sends his greetings to you, as do Lucius, Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.22I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.23Gaius, whose hospitality I and the whole church here enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, who is the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.24(OMITTED TEXT)25Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past,26but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him--27to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
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A Mission for Jimmy
The Ill-Gotten Deed
“The Ill-Gotten Deed” is episode #92 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on November 4, 1989.

Summary

Whit tells Calvin the story of brothers Horace and Grover McAlister, and how revenge is far less productive than work.

Plot

The-ill-gotten-deed.png

Calvin is mad at his little brother, Ronny. So mad, in fact, he is searching the library at Whit's End for a book of mean tricks to play on his sibling. Calvin tells Whit that Ronny is always double-crossing him. Whit hears Calvin out, and then Whit says he does have a book for Calvin after all.

The book is called The Ill-Gotten Deed, by John Avery Whittaker. It's all about two identical twin brothers named Horace and Grover McAlister who live in Virginia with their wives. Their father dies, leaving behind his land out west. But instead of dividing it up, the father's will states that the first of the brothers to reach the land gets it all! It's supposed to be a fair contest, but unfortunately Grover ends up double-crossing his brother. Grover wins the contest and cheats Horace out of the land.

Grover and his wife, Rachel, arrive first and the deed is signed over to them. But as soon as the deed is signed, they learn that the land is actually a swamp for most of the year. It's overrun by range cattle and, worst of all, surrounded by hostile Indians - who decide at that very moment to go on the warpath! Grover and Rachael fight the Indians off as best they can, but it looks hopeless. Suddenly, the Indians ride off, chased away by a huge herd of range cattle. And behind the cattle is Horace! He's saved Grover and Rachael, despite what Grover did to him.

Grover still has one more swindle up his sleeve, though. He insists that Horace take their father's land! Horace, not knowing all the land's drawbacks, agrees. He turns over his small farm in Virginia to Grover.

Calvin can't believe it until Whit reads the rest of the story to him: The swamp land turned out to be fine when a few strategic drainage ditches were dug. Horace built himself a lovely little town on the property, a town he ended up calling "Odyssey." Everything turned out all right for Horace in the end - and Calvin discovers why it's best not to overcome evil by evil, but to overcome evil with good.

Discussion Questions

  1. Calvin said his brother was always playing tricks on him. What’s the difference between a practical joke and a dirty trick? How do you know when a joke has gone too far?
  2. Why is it best to let God handle revenge?
  3. What does it mean to "overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:21)? Can you think of any examples of this?

Cast

Role Voice Actor
Ambrose Schnook Bob Luttrell
Calvin Fabio Stephens
Grover McAlister Nathan Carlson
Horace McAlister Charles Knox Robinson
John Whittaker Hal Smith
Phoebe McAlister Terey Summers
Rachel McAlister Chris Anthony
Silas Van Kreeft Chuck Bolte

Notes

Trivia
  • VERSION DIFFERENCE: The broadcast version of this episode begins with Chris summoning the listener to put on their boots and hats and hitch up their wagon due to today's Western.
  • This episode can be heard on the homepage of the OAC website.

Reviews

Quotes

Grover McAlister: I don't think of it as cheating really, I think of it as making my own advantages.

Grover McAlister: Mr. Schnook, am I to understand that our father expects us to engage in some sort of...contest for this land?
Ambrose Schnook: Well now, I wouldn't exactly call it a contest... it's a... more like a... yeah, it's a contest.