VIII – “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15).
Why do people steal?
According to God’s Word and His law, there are only two right ways by which you can come into possession of anything. The first is by a free gift—or an inheritance—from another person, or from God Himself. The second is by honest labor, which earns something as a legitimate return. The wrong way is theft—the taking from another that which belongs to him.
What do people steal?
Things; Money; Time; Even false advertising is stealing. – The consumer is led to expect that a certain “pill,” for instance, will cause him to lose weight, gain weight, increase energy, restore his thinning hair, or whatever the case may be. And, in most cases, this statement is a direct, willful lie without any doubt. Such a practice is, in effect, stealing from the people who pay money to achieve the promised result. In many cases, the victims of these gigantic frauds are not only robbed of money, they are robbed of health, happiness and peace of mind.
What about cheating? What does cheating steal?
How about tarnished wealth? – wealth that is tarnished by an unnecessarily high death rate in some plants or factories is ill-gotten gain. Or, how about insider trading, or money laundering?
The principle behind the eighth commandment is broken again and again in the relations of capital and labor. James was inspired to warn the dishonest employer: “Indeed the wages of the laborers… which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries… have reached the ears of the Lord…” (James 5:4) It is also equally true that many an employee robs his employer! He does this by taking his wage and yet withholding his full share of honest labor. And that is stealing! Or just plain laziness.
American laborers, spend an undue proportion of their working time on “tea breaks,” “coffee breaks” or “cigarette breaks” and are causing many of our industries to be badly beaten in the worldwide trade war now going on. This lack of productivity is affecting the destiny of the American people! The eighth commandment of Almighty God has a message for both capital and labor. To capital: “A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.” To labor: “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage.” But just stealing from a fellow human being is not the only principle involved in the eighth commandment. God owns far more property than any man. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine, declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:8).
What about stealing from God?
In Malachi 3, speaking to modern-day Jacob or Israel, God declares: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (v. 8). “You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (vv. 9–10).
Here is a bold challenge from Almighty God! God says He will bless you if you begin tithing—as He commands—through faith in Him and in His Word. It has been said by many people “I can’t afford to tithe.” And, it has also been said that “You can’t afford not to tithe.” If you won’t or don’t tithe with what you have now, you won’t tithe with more either!
Andy Stanley has said that there is only one financial formula that works for everyone… “Give; Save; and Live.” That is: Give 10% … Save 10%… and Live on the rest. (If any one of the three is missing, your finances are out of whack!) Most people, he says, are “consumers”…they consume all that they have! Their only financial plan is the “Live” part! They assume that all they get is theirs to consume! To begin with, and this may be a goal for you, start with 2% or 5%…but start now!
Matthew 6:24 says – “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Take note of the words “serve” – “hate and love” – “devoted and despise”…What is Jesus talking about? “God and Money!” Let’s think about these words, comparing God and money: Think about it this way; I can “serve, love, and devote” myself – my time – my thoughts – to money and all that I can get and do with it; Or, I can “serve, love, devote” myself – my time – my thoughts to God, who provides all that I get and what I can do with it, but I can’t do both!
In Verses 25-32 – Jesus talks about “worry” and the things we worry about; Then in verse 32 He says “your heavenly Father KNOWS that you need these things.” The problem is that we act as if God has no idea what we need. In fact, when we consume all that we have seeking after all these things, we are denying God even exists! We are denying God the opportunity to do anything in our lives. His Word tells us what we must do, and how we must live – “But, seek Ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.” We must learn to trust God and take Him at His Word!
The definite positive application of the eighth commandment is stated in the New Testament letter to the Ephesians. “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need” (Ephesians 4:28). One of the most positive blessings we can receive is the ability to help others and bless others with that which God has blessed us. We can only do that if we control our finances and not let our finances control us and have the proper attitude toward God and Money.