Summary: There is an apposite saying that: “Thieves Never Prosper.”

Henry George, an American political economist and journalist once remarked: “There are only three ways by which any individual can get wealth - by work, by gift or by theft. And, clearly, the reason why the workers get so little is that the beggars and thieves get so much.” John 10:10 states: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

There is an apposite saying that: “Thieves Never Prosper.” Two censorious mandates within the "Ten Commandments" relate directly to theft. And God spoke all these words: "You shall not steal." (Exodus 20:15) and: “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Exodus 20:17)

Theft can take many forms, from taking sweets from a young child to robbing a bank, but they all have distinctive traits in common: Greed, a compulsion to acquire what others own, disrespect for people in general and disregard for the property that they have strived to possess, plus the obvious lack of self-control to name but a few. Perhaps the worst outcome of theft is the harm and hurt that it causes. It can result in emotional problems for the victims which can include anger, sadness, a deep sense of loss and many other symptoms. These can lead to psychiatric disorders which may include anxiety, depression and even fear.

The inclination to thieve is often instigated by a poor environment in adulthood which may incur the need for more wealth to improve the conditions of life. However, in some instances, it can stem from childhood. The innocent games of "Cat and Mouse" or "Cops and Robbers" which are often played by children, can sometimes instil an internal exhilaration from the ever-increasing prospects of being caught, combined with the possibility of escape which can continue into adulthood and may become the foundation stone that leads to crime-related activities. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 warns: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Stealing from others is against all the wishes of God. It is sinful. Natalie Clifford Barney, the American playwright, poet and novelist once summed up the inadvisability of theft by stating: “Why grab possessions like thieves, or divide them like socialists when you can ignore them like wise men?” Psalm 62:10 reminds us: “Put no trust in extortion; set no vain hopes on robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart on them.”

A young recently married couple who loved caravan holidays decided to spend a week at a caravan park located in Cornwall close to Lands End as part of their honeymoon. An elderly but wealthy aunt who adored her nephew and was strongly in favour of the marriage decided to give a gift of a richly coloured orange "Imperial Topaz" stone, which had previously been accurately weighed by a jeweller at 12.74 carats, as a wedding present to them both. This gift, which had been in her possession for many years was partially to provide a significant deposit on their first house and was given early as an intended future bequeathment.

As the stone was worth a considerable amount of money, the couple decided not to leave it in the rented flat where they were living for fear of theft. The area was of a low-class structure that was notorious for crime-related activities. As such, they decided to take the stone with them as a precaution. Unfortunately, when they arrived at the caravan park they were informed by the owner that there had recently been a spate of break-ins at the park and were strongly advised not to leave anything of any value in the caravan if they ventured out of the park. Obadiah 1:5 states: “If thieves came to you, if plunderers came by night - how you have been destroyed! - would they not steal only enough for themselves? If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave gleanings?”

As the caravan afforded no effective secure facilities to safeguard the stone, the new wife, who had some previous experience in professional cooking, decided to cleverly store it in a box of chocolates. She made a smooth dark chocolate mix and evenly covered the stone with it to give the impression of a normal chocolate. Having placed it in the small fridge provided in the caravan to set, she then inserted the chocolate covered stone into a vacant space in a partly consumed box of chocolate Brazil nuts. They then went out to a local restaurant to celebrate the first night of their honeymoon. On their return, however, they found to their dismay that their caravan had been broken into. Not much had been stolen, but unfortunately, the box of chocolates where the stone had been concealed was completely empty. It was evident that the intruder obviously had a sweet tooth and had consumed all of the chocolates in the box including the one containing the stone. Isaiah 61:8 reminds us: “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.”

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