Anything taken by you that does not belong to you is a firm definition of stealing. If it belongs to someone else and you take it (accidentally, purposely, or with good intentions), it is stealing. God knew this would be a problem in all of society and spoke this as one of the 10 Commandments. In Exodus 20:15, the Bible reads, “Thou shalt not steal.” Plain and simple! He doesn’t even give us exceptions to stealing. If it isn’t yours, you should not EVER take it.
We acquire things through WORK:
Ephesians 4:28 – He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
Proverbs 14:23 – All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.
1 Timothy 5:8 – If anyone who does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
We are commanded to work. The Bible is clear that if you are physically able to work, you must work. It is NOT acceptable to sit back and do nothing and expect things to be given to you. Nobody owes you anything! If you are freeloading at home while your parents are working, you need to move out and get a job. If you are floating around from one place to the next mooching off of others, you need to get a job. If you are the person who is allowing your child to sleep all day and do nothing, you are enabling them and creating an environment for them to sin; they are stealing from you, and worse, they are stealing from the person who could really use your help. We are commanded to work so that we can not only provide for ourselves but also provide for others who are truly in need. It is not okay for you to freely acquire things from someone else’s earned resources.
We acquire things through PRAYER:
Matthew 21:22 – If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
James 4:3 – When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
There are things we acquire by working, but there are things God withholds from us that we cannot acquire by working. The only method we can acquire these things is through prayer. God knows what we need before we ask Him but asking God for these things draws us closer to Him. Blessings are available to each person and family and some are only available if we ask. God will definitely send blessings down on us when we least expect it. But what Father doesn’t want to give His children extra blessings when we go to Him in prayer? We do need to be mindful about our prayers though. God will not drop money in our laps when we intend to gamble, quit our job, or waste it away at nothing. However, God would LOVE to send you blessings that you will turn around and use in His name. Blessings given by God to be used for His glory are the most desirable and promising blessings available.
We acquire things through GIVING:
Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
The Lord wants us to give to His kingdom. He wants us to use our blessings to give to others. This isn’t just about our finances, but includes our time and energy as well. If we give a little, we receive a little. If we give much, we will receive much. This doesn’t mean that the person who makes more money and gives more will receive more. It is proportional giving and giving from the heart. Are we giving of our ‘first fruits’ as we are called to do? Are we giving all that we can? Are we giving until it hurts a little and ultimately makes us lean more on God? Take a look at you bank statement and your calendar – they tell a story and say a whole lot about our giving.
As humans, we’ve come up with some fairly creative ways to steal. Sometimes we completely seize items that do not belong to us; we take what we want, when we want it, and completely ignore the owner’s emotions attached to the item. Sometimes we use deception to steal. We deceive people into taking what rightfully belongs to them or we deceive ourselves and convince ourselves that because we have given of our time and efforts, we deserve something when it truly doesn’t belong to us. And then there are times we simply withhold information or items to make ourselves look better or to avoid trouble.
-Have you ever stolen a car or someone else’s bicycle?
-Have you ever stolen a piece of candy or forgotten to pay for your drink at the store?
-Have you ever eaten a banana or grapes at the grocery store before purchasing them?
-Have you spent time on Facebook while on the clock at work? Or reading the most current sports reports when your time should be spent doing the work you are paid to do?
-Have you withheld information on paperwork so that the end result benefits you most?
We steal because we simply don’t trust God to provide everything. But hasn’t he always provided everything we’ve needed? So why do we continue to withhold our giving to God and others? We like to think we are in control of ourselves, our circumstance, our surroundings, our futures, etc. This may be a little news flash… we are not in control – but God is!
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
We’ve all taken something that does not belong to us at one time or another in our lives. And today, we must open our eyes to our deceitful nature and begin to use our time and resources more effectively for His glory and His kingdom. If we look ahead with heaven in view rather than the world in view we may find it is a little easier to give and give according to how God has called each of us to give.