Verse of the Day Devotion: Exodus 20:15 – You shall not steal.
We move on now to the eighth commandment which we see above in our focus verse.
Stealing is defined as taking another’s property without permission and without intending to return it, in essence making it our own. Even if the person has made it known they do not necessarily like an item, to take it without them knowing it is still stealing, maybe not the current owner, but ultimately the person they may have planned to give it to. I have had various items stolen from me, some that did not affect me that much, but also some that created in me a sense of loss.
However, there are many different forms of thievery. For instance, taking longer on our lunch breaks at work without making up the time, or leaving early and/or arriving late without ensuring the hours paid for are covered. I remember when I worked for an IT consulting company. On my last day, I turned in my time sheet and my supervisor told me to amend the time sheet so they could bill the client for forty hours that week. I told him I could not do that because I was assigned to other work as well and could not put in the full forty. He demanded I adjust my time sheet, but I told him I would not, for that would be charging them for hours not worked. When he continued to insist I comply, I told him I would not because they did not owe anything for time not devoted to them. Another form of theft is taking credit for what another has accomplished. This could result in the theft of bonuses that were awarded or in acclamations accorded for the effort given.
It is important to understand that the victims of theft know the horrible feelings that these actions produce. The very act of someone taking what may have been an especially precious gift from a loved one causes deep hurts and wounds as well as make us feel vulnerable and often times angry. Theft has a tremendous impact on society as a whole. It disturbs societal stability and often excites feelings of fear and possibly desires for revenge.
Stealing from another, whether we know the person or not, goes against the two commandments that Jesus said encompass all the other laws and the prophets. “And He said to him, YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.“. Matthew 22:37-40. If we truly love God, we will desire to honor Him in all we say and in all we do, and ultimately do not do such as not stealing. And if we love our neighbor as ourselves, we will not take from them anything that is theirs without their knowledge and permission.
So in closing, let us make our focus in expressing our love to God and to our neighbor by doing what is truly loving and in their best interests. God loves us far beyond our ability to comprehend. And we should express this love to each other. “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12. And stealing is a sign of greed, not love.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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