Summary: The eighth commandment gives us a simple rule to keep us tuned in to God's authority over our possessions.
• More than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year. That's more than $35 million per day.
• There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
• Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit.
• Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs. 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught.
• Many shoplifters don't commit other types of crimes. They'll never steal an ashtray from your house and will return to you a $20 bill you may have dropped.
Oklahoma City: Dennis Newton was on trial for the armed robbery of a convenience store in a district court when he fired his lawyer. Assistant district attorney Larry Jones said Newton, 47, was doing a fair job of defending himself until the store manager testified that Newton was the robber. Newton jumped up, accused the woman of lying and then said, "I should of blown your (expletive) head off." The defendant paused, then quickly added, "if I'd been the one that was there." The jury took 20 minutes to convict Newton and recommended a 30 year sentence.
Detroit: R.C. Gaitlan, 21 walked up to two patrol officers who were showing their squad car computer equipment to children in a Detroit neighbourhood. When he asked how the system worked, the officer asked him for identification. Gaitlan gave them drivers license, they entered it into the computer, and moments later they arrested Gaitlan because information on the screen showed Gaitlan was wanted for armed robbery in St. Louis, Missouri.
The eighth commandment is: you shall not steal. God makes it simple, doesn’t he?
For society to function well, its people need to be honest and respect another’s property. Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto your for this sums up the law and the prophets.”
Ownership of property is an interesting concept. The Bible tells us that God created all things and that all things are His. In other words everything that is created actually belongs not to us, but to God who made it. What God does with His creation is give us responsibility over it. In the beginning God created man and woman and put them in the garden to take care of it. God gave us rule or authority over the earth. This is a trust. We are not truly owners, but stewards over the things placed in our care.
As a steward over property we have a certain set of rights and privileges in regard to that which is entrusted to our care. We are responsible and answerable to God for how we deal with these things, and even our attitudes toward them. But ultimately, we have to turn it all in, or turn it all over to someone else, if there is anything left when we get through.
Solomon speaks about this in Ecclesiastes. He understands the true meaning of God’s ultimate ownership, but, as you will hear, he is not pleased with it at all. Listen to 2:17-26.
The wisdom we find in Ecclesiastes is this overarching principle: Abandon the quest of finding meaning in ownership here! You won’t ever get anything under the sun that satisfies you. There will never be enough stuff, never enough wealth, never enough toys, never enough parties… property is not meant to satisfy, it is meant to be used to the glory of God. It belongs to Him. It is His, not yours. You have responsibility and authority over what God has entrusted to your care so that you will use it to bring Him glory.
In Revelation 4 as John describes the throne of God, we see that there are 24 elders around the throne of God, and as they worship, they all lay their crowns before God’s throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
In other words, “Lord everything is yours!” We place it all at your feet!
When the church began in Acts 4 we read in verse 32-35: All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostle’s feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.