Summary: God calls the Christian to live in community with others by being fair, righteous and just in all of his dealings.
Central Christian Church
St Petersburg, Fl
Commandment number 8 seems as direct and plain as the first 7. “You shall not steal.” Ex. 20:15
Do not take for yourself anything that belongs to somebody else. I think the question is where do we draw the line? The quarter on the sidewalk, well it is not mine, but it is not anybody else’s either or how about the red corvette idling in front of Blockbuster without anybody in it?
How about these situations and determine for yourself whether they constitute stealing or not.
1. The clerk at McDonald’s gives you too much change and it is not worth your time to return it.
2. You take a pen from work and use it at home.
3. You indicate more for your charitable giving for tax purposes then what you actually contributed.
4. You have an expense account that gives you up to $25 per day for meals, you spend $3 and keep the $22.
5. You read personal emails at work and play internet games while you are on the clock
6. You take longer than your hour lunch break for lunch.
7. You buy the lunch special your wife buys the buffet and you eat food from her plate.
8. You copy a CD or tape of your favorite music
9. I order the all you can eat crab legs and you order a salad, when my crabs’ come we share.
10. You do not give God back the first 10% of all He has given you.
What do you think are you a thief?
I don’t bring these items up to shame anybody or to point the finger. I mention them to you tonight that we might examine ourselves. That we might make the changes we need to make to live more in line with God’s command. I mention it that the world might see us as squeaky clean, avoiding even the appearance of anything evil and being beyond reproach.
We need to know the difference between right and wrong from God’s perspective and not from our own. God is the one who holds the plumb line to examine if we are fair, righteous and just people.
To the restaurant owner when you eat from someone’s plate even one carrot stick without purchasing the buffet you are stealing.
I will tell you one that use to drive me crazy, when I was a property manager, we would have dumpsters on our property and people would fill those with their trash. That is stealing!
Or how about this?
A Sunday school teacher was teaching her class about the difference between right and wrong. "All right children, let’s take another example," she said. "If I were to get into a man’s pocket and take his billfold with all his money, what would I be?" Little Johnny raises his hand, and with a confident smile,
he blurts out, "You’d be his wife!"
I absolutely hate to be stolen from and have been a victim of it several times in my life. Yet, I am able to accept as just another sin of fallen humanity.
It is interesting though the last two times Cathi and I have been robbed our cars have been broken into and they have taken our Bibles. I just hope they read Exodus 20
When we steal we simply do not believe in a God who can be trusted to meet our needs.
“Danny Sampson robbed a bank in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Danny Sampson used a hand-me-down Colt 45 and robbed a bank and got $6,000. When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught him and confiscated the gun, routinely they sent the gun to their laboratory where it was recognized as a collector’s prize. Danny Sampson didn’t have to rob a bank; he had a gun worth $100,000.” --Associated Press. Danny Sampson didn’t know it, but God had already provided for his needs. It was when he tried to take matters into his own hands that Danny got himself in trouble.
This 8th commandment was established by God so we could live in community with one another. God wants to protect the weak and the helpless, he doesn’t want the strong to take advantage of the weaker members in the community. We are not to claim for ourselves that which belongs to someone else.
I was driving across the Winn Dixie parking lot one day with my lovely and righteous wife Cathi when I spotted currency tumbling along as it was being blown by the wind. I maneuvered the Mustang into position so that when I opened the door it miraculously blew right into my left hand. In due diligence I surveyed the scene, but no one was chasing the $20. Pay day money from heaven. Cathi said, “turn it in.” To whom?