Summary: God's instruction regarding theft
Series: Big 10
When I was growing up, my closest neighbor friend, who was a few years older than me, loved to play Robin Hood. He always got to play Robin Hood while I always had to be Little John. After a while, I wanted to be Robin. He said, “Ok. We’ll play another game and you can be Robin.” I said, “Great! Who are you going to play?” He said, “Batman.”
That story isn’t true but it is true that one of my favorite characters growing up was Robin Hood. And I’ve kind of remained a fan over the years. Whether it was the Robin Hood portrayed in a book, the one portrayed by Errol Flynn, the one played by Kevin Costner, or the one played by Russell Crowe, I’ve enjoyed the Robin Hood stories over the years. They’re fun stories and they provide a strong sense of action and adventure in the telling.
But you know what? There is one thing we tend to forget about Robin Hood because it ruins both the character and the story. The bottom line is that Robin Hood was a thief. He was a crook!
Even though he robbed from the rich and gave to the poor, the end does not justify the means. A right motive does not justify a wrong method. Although his motive might have been right, Robin Hood was both a robber and a hood. The reason why everyone knows the name, Robin Hood, is for the simple reason that he lived his entire life breaking the eighth commandment which says in Ex. 20:15 – You shall not steal.
Unfortunately, America has become a nation full of Robin Hoods. In 2011, more than $30 million was stolen and just over 100 people killed or injured in some 5,000 bank robberies reported from across the nation. Retail crimes where organized gangs of shoplifters make off with store merchandise to turn around and sell it to other retailers costs the U.S. about $30 billion a year. 86% of us have something stolen every five years. An estimated 8.6 million households had at least one person age 12 or older who were victimized by identity theft in 2010.
If you’re looking for an honest employee, you might have some trouble finding one. According to Lousig-Nont and Associates, a Las Vegas based pre-employment testing firm, out of 7, 443 people tested for honesty, they ranked 52% as being in the category of low desirability for employment because they admitted to stealing or thinking about stealing regularly or said they would steal if they thought they had a good enough reason.
You might be startled and even disturbed by those statistics. While there have been thieves as long as there have been humans, something has changed recently in our culture. Thievery has become much more prevalent and even more socially acceptable in recent years.
We’re going to talk about some issues today that you might think I’ve included just to be stepping on someone’s toes. I can’t preach this message without talking about how we handle our own money. Realize that there are times that while I’m stepping on your toes, I’m stepping on my own as well. Heb. 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
So, just in case you think this may be one commandment you haven't broken, think about it this way: If you have broken any of the prior seven commandments, you've automatically broken the eighth commandment.
• If you have broken the first commandment, you have stolen from God the honor that is due to Him alone.
• If you have broken the second commandment, you have stolen from God the worship that is due to Him alone.
• If you have broken the third commandment, you have stolen from God the dignity that is due tp Him alone.
• If you have broken the fourth commandment, you have stolen from God the day that belongs to Him alone.
• If you have broken the fifth commandment, you have stolen from your parents the respect God demands for them.
• If you have broken the sixth commandment, you have stolen either another person's life or another person's reputation.
• If you have broken the seventh commandment, you have stolen another person's mate or another person's sexual purity.
There is more than one type of stealing and more than one way to steal. You don't have to crack a safe, pick a pocket or hold up a bank in order to be a thief. So how do we live out this commandment and live by God’s standard and not the world’s? It all boils down to three basic principles.