St. Helena Seventh-day Adventist Church
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Saint Helena, CA, 94574-1048
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By Dan Freedman
St. Helena Seventh-day Adventist Church

Thursday Pulpit, St. Helena Star, April 08, 2010

On Dec. 17, 1968, Barbara Mackle and her mother, who were traveling from Florida, decided to spend a quiet evening in a motel near Atlanta, Ga. At 4:11 a.m. someone knocked loudly on their motel room door claiming they were the police. After opening the door Barbara’s mother was immediately chloroformed and Barbara was kidnapped. She was gagged, bound, put in the trunk of a car and taken to a forest in the hills of Georgia. There the men counted off 20 paces from a tree, dug a ditch, put her in a coffin with a battery powered fan and some food and water. They lowered the coffin in the ground — covered it with dirt and left.

Barbara described the horrible experience in these words: “I was lowered into an open grave. As I listened to those shovels full of dirt covering the box, no words can describe it. The first shovels full of dirt were very loud: after a while they became muffled. I was still talking, but then I tried to listen. I heard nothing. I thought they were gone. They’ve left me, I thought. I pushed as hard as I could against the top of the box. I was hysterical. I’d talk — and then I’d be silent, waiting for an answer. There was nothing — only silence.”

The kidnappers contacted Barbara’s father, Frank Mackle, a multimillionaire, and told him to follow their directions completely and he would see his daughter once again. He was told his daughter was being held and was safe, but uncomfortable. The battery powered fan would last 48 hours, after that his daughter would die. They were demanding $500,000 in cash and he was not to contact the police.

In addition Frank was told, “None of the bills can have serial numbers later than 1950. They can have no more than 20 consecutive serial numbers. The money must be in denominations of 10s and 20s. We have put a series of 40 tests on the bills. If you fail to meet our requirements in any way, you will never see your daughter alive again.”

Immediately the father pulled the money together exactly how the kidnappers wanted. He carefully followed all their directions and after the money was dropped off instructions were soon given and Barbara was found alive.

Frank Mackle loved his daughter very much. He would have paid any price to have his daughter back. What about you? If you were kidnapped would somebody put up $500,000 for you? Does anyone love you that much? Yes, Someone does. A great theme of the Bible is the ransom theme. The Apostle Peter says, “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1Peter 1:18-19.

What about Barbara? Do you think she said, “Dad, you shouldn’t have paid the $500,000 ransom. That was too much money, you should have let me die.” Of course not! Rather, I see a very happy reunion with tears of joy and gratefulness.

You were redeemed my friend, not with $500,000, not with a million dollars, but with the “precious blood of Christ.” Here is Someone who loves you very much — Someone who cares for you enough to pay your ransom, not in coinage of gold, but in the coinage of blood. He has done this to enable you to live with Him through all eternity. You are a masterpiece to God. Of all the six billion people alive on earth today, He has no one exactly like you — you are irreplaceable, you are priceless. Just as an earthly father loved his child so much that he would pay any price to have her back, your heavenly Father loves you so much more and has paid an infinite price to bring you back home to Him. Today, won’t you come home and be reunited with your heavenly Father?

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