Summary: This 8th Commandment, is one that is violated more then we can imagine and is a eye opener to even Christians on how we often violate the love of God.
Thou Shall Not Steal
Many lives have been touched by theft in our society today. Millions of dollars are lost every year in this country over the theft of goods and services. One estimate says that 1 out of every 52 shopper’s carries something out of the supermarket for which they haven’t paid. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 4 million people are caught shoplifting every year. But for every 1 caught, 35 others get away with it. At least for now. This means that there are over 140 million incidents of shoplifting every year in American! What’s really tragic is that only 10% of all shoplifters come from low income backgrounds. 70% are middle class and 205 are classified as wealthy. These facts are astounding! America appears to be a country of thieves. I suppose that if everyone who was guilty of theft was arrested, there would be no jails to hold them, nor arresting officers to lock them up! One new hotel reported that in their 10 months of operation, they lost 38,000 spoons, 18,000 towels, 355 silver coffee pots, 1,500 silver finger bowls and 100 Bibles to thieves.
Regardless of the reason, stealing is wrong! God, in these verses condemns it and declares it to be a sin. Today, I would like for us to take some time to look at the 8th Commandment, which reads, “Thou Shall Not Steal,” and consider what stealing really is, as we think together on this thought.
I. Stealing is a Violation of the Law
a. The Correct Means of Getting Gain
• God has authorized two primary methods by which people can legitimately increase their possession.
• When we engage in these 2 areas of getting gain, we are doing it the right way.
• Notice what they are.
1. As a Reward for Work
• Contrary to popular belief, work is not a curse!
i. It is a means, ordained by God, whereby people can obtain the resources they need to function in the world.
ii. In fact, work is glorified by God according to 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either.”
• One evening a man saw his neighbor, a famous author, carrying coal into his house. The neighbor told him that it was undignified for a man of his social standing to be seen carrying coal. The famous author replied, “Any man who is ashamed to carry his own coal deserves to sit all winter by an empty fireplace.”
• God’s will is that we obtain the things in life we need by the labor of our hands!
2. By the Reception of a Gift
• Another legitimate means of increasing our possessions is by the generosity of another.
• Some one may give us a gift, or we may receive an inheritance, or we may be the beneficiary of a will or insurance policy.
• These are all legitimate ways of getting gain.
• There is nothing wrong with receiving things from others.
• Often, God may choose to bless your life in this way.
b. The Corrupt Means of Getting Gain
• This is by taking that which does not belong to us as our own.
• Also known as stealing.
• God has condemned this practice and has declared that His children should leave it behind with the others works of the flesh.
• Ephesians 4:28 reads, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.”
II. Stealing is a Violation of a Loyalty
a. As an Employee
• Employee theft costs companies billions of dollars every year, somewhere in the neighborhood of $120 billion.
o According to USA Today, 48% of all American workers took something from an employer last year.
o People do this by taking things home, selling things without their employers knowledge and pocketing the money, taking kickbacks, falsifying time records, wasting time while at work, and so on.
Many years ago a young boy in a small village was working in a general store when a man entered and ordered some cloth. Observing that the owner of the establishment wasn’t there, the customer suggests the boy cheat a little and gives him an extra yard or two. “It’ll be all right, son,” he said. “Non one will ever know about it. Your master isn’t in.” Looking somewhat stunned, the youngster quickly replied, “Oh, but you’re mistaken, sir. My Master is always in! You see, I’m a Christian.” He was conscious of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.