Commandment #8: You Shall Not Steal

Commandment #7: Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
July 19, 2012
Commandment #9: Don’t LIE!
August 16, 2012

You Shall Not Steal!

In 2008, I took the kids to one of our favorite summer places: Cedar Point, a phenomenal roller-coaster-heavy theme park. We had a blast! At least for the 1st hour. Right up until my purse was stolen!

Now, don’t feel too bad for me. It was a pitiful lapse in judgment. I foolishly left my purse in an unlocked locker while we rode the Millennium coaster. It was irresponsible of me! Just plain stupid!

I felt humiliated, but also so VIOLATED! I lost a cute pink purse, $80 and my favorite lipstick! Why did someone do that to me? What were they thinking?

No matter what you call it, stealing happens. Call it abscond, burglarize, carry off, or heist. It happens. And we all agree, it’s flat out wrong.

Unfortunately, stealing isn’t limited to the bad folks who are clearly criminals. It’s also found in the church among God’s people, although it’s much more subtle and often justified or hidden. Jeremiah 7:9-11 says:

“Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe” – safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.”

God watches. Even when we think we’re blameless and free from sin, God knows we still are capable of failing.

What kind of stealing can we be guilty of? Consider some of these categories:

  1. To delay payment on a bill owed.
  2. To cheat on taxes.
  3. To withholding tithing what really is God’s money.
  4. To steal time or resources from an employer (longer breaks, playing games at work, spending time on social media, personal phone calls, lifting office supplies for home.)
  5. To steal the credit or spotlight (cheat on a test, take undue credit for something, monopolize a conversation)

There is a curse for thievery. In Zechariah 5:1-4, he saw a scroll authored by God that decreed every thief would be banished, and their homes would be completely destroyed. Wow.

God watches. Sin will ALWAYS be found out. Sin is never personal. It will have lasting impact.

Wow…big concepts that really stretch the idea of what thievery is.

How can we safeguard ourselves from falling into the trap of stealing? I love Proverbs 30:7-9: 

“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

Trust God for provision. Simple, but not always easy, I know. But it’s a prayer he will honor.

Pray it. And lock your Cedar Point locker to protect yourself from the folks that don’t read Proverbs.

Maureen Zappala
Maureen Zappala
Maureen is the founder of High Altitude Strategies. She’s an ex-NASA propulsion engineer, turned professional speaker and author. She’s a semi-regular contributor to the monthly Toastmaster magazine. And paradoxically, is co-writing a book about Ohio State Football history, (despite being a graduate of U of Notre Dame). Go Bucks. Go Irish. Go figure.

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