ODJ: stealing vs. working

November 10, 2014 

READ: Ephesians 4:17-28 

You must not steal (Exodus 20:15).

When my twin sister and I were 5 years old, we began counting the money we had in our piggybanks. It turned out that one of us had more than the other. To our young minds, this just wasn’t right. So, we decided to balance our accounts by helping ourselves to our mother’s money!

Since then, I’m not proud to confess, there have been times I’ve ‘helped myself’ to the shared music and ebooks uploaded on nonofficial websites. As I did so, an iffy feeling inside me told me it was wrong. But I simply shoved it aside.

I couldn’t plead ignorance any longer, however. God’s Word confronted me: “You must not steal” (Exodus 20:15). This commandment is straightforward and perfectly clear: “You” who belong to God and trust that God is your provider “must not” ever consider it acceptable to pilfer; “steal”—take what’s not yours and make it your own.

When we steal, we’re telling God two things: “I don’t really trust You to give me what I need” and “my desire for what I want is greater than my desire to obey You.” Essentially, we’re violating the Great Commandment—to love God with our all.

One preacher commented, “So often people take what is not theirs because they can’t or won’t wait for it, or believe they shouldn’t have to wait for it.”

The apostle Paul wrote about what we should do with such wrong perspectives: “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

The opposite of stealing is obtaining what we need through honest work. Work, then you’ll have the money for your living expenses and the ability to give generously to others who are in need. —Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan› Acts 21:18-36

Read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 and note what he did after being saved through an encounter with Jesus. 
What forms of stealing are prevalent in our culture today? How can you begin to cultivate a spirit of hard work and generous giving?