Commandment #8: You Shall Not Steal. (Exodus 20:15)

Stealing is a widespread problem in our culture today. In fact, it has become far more commonplace than we may realize. When we think of stealing, we often picture car thieves or professionals that steal jewelry and other valuables from stores and homes. But, stealing also includes:

  • Inflating the price when we sell a house or car in order to make a little more money.
  • Receiving too much change at the store and keeping it.
  • Taking office supplies home for personal use.
  • Taking government help when you don’t need it.
Working rather than stealing
“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28).

The idea in this passage is not simply ceasing to do what is wrong (stealing), but to do what is right (working). Not working when you are able is stealing. Like it or not, a man is to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.

“Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘Whoever does not work should not eat.’ Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people’s business. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people—no, we command them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living” (2 Thessalonians 3:10–12 NLT).
Stealing from your employer

According to employee-screening company Guardsmark, employee theft costs more than $120 billion a year.

There are many ways in which people steal. According to USA Today, 48% of U.S. workers admit to taking unethical or illegal actions in the past year. Some of the ways employees steal include cheating on an expense account, paying or accepting kickbacks, and secretly forging signatures.

Stealing from God
“Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it'” (Malachi 3:8–11).

None of us has a right to all he earns. God’s portion under the Law is one-tenth of our earnings, even though grace can demand more. Yet many steal from God by not tithing their earnings as they should.

Stealing from God refers not only to our money, but to our lives in general.

Everything we have is the Lord’s. We owe our very life to Jesus Christ. He purchased our lives at the cross of Calvary and now has rightful ownership. But many times we steal our life away from Him, denying Him ownership and lordship over our lives.

Also, in each of our lives, the Lord has graciously instilled talents and gifts. To neglect to use them for His glory, rather hoarding them for our own benefit is nothing short of stealing.
Instead of living immorally, stealing from men or God, let us seek to live pure lives. “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

Remember, your life is a gift of God to use and invest for His glory.

 

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