2015-07-12 - The Eighth Commandment
The Call Not to Steal
One would expect we all know what it means to steal. But just for the sake of argument, I thought we might as well look at the definition:
“To take (the property of another) without right or permission.” 1
The very existence of this command also supports the rights of individuals to hold private property. This right doesn’t mean it is necessary to hold property, but it certainly allows for it, if that is what we desire.
So what are some ways people can and do steal? The obvious ones include: bank robbery, purse snatching, car theft, etc. But consider the following: Cheating on income taxes, taking office supplies, getting paid for eight hours of work while only giving seven, etc. And what about lying? We’ll discuss this in detail, later. Can’t this be stealing someone’s reputation? Can you think of any other examples?
I think we can find we also can steal from the Lord. Think about these examples: If we let someone or something take first place in our lives ahead of the Lord, are we not stealing His rightful place? If we don’t use the gifts, abilities, even resources the Lord has given us, aren’t we taking that which is His? What are some ways we can be guilty of stealing from God?
I think you can see, even from this short discussion, that the issue of stealing is very relevant to us. We live in a society where the standard seems to be stealing. What happens in riot situations? The rioters liberate material goods from “cruel” merchants.
If we define stealing as taking that which one hasn’t earned, isn’t someone who collects on insurance or even welfare, when they aren’t entitled to, stealing? Isn’t using power and wealth to avoid the law or duty, etc. really stealing justice from society? There are so many ways people that take that which isn’t theirs, that we are in danger of throwing up our hands and saying, “So What!”
To be continued.
Pastor Geoff Kragen
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