There are different kinds of thieves. There’s the one that acknowledges, “I’m a thief. I take things that don’t belong to me. I use cunning and skill, and force if I need to.” Then there’s the one who steals quietly without ever realizing he’s stealing.
In the Ten Commandments when God says, “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15), guess what type of thief He’s talking about? It’s not the brazen, bold thief, but the one who may not even realize he’s stealing.
The Hebrew word for steal means move by stealth, take something secretly, or deceive someone. How can we steal?
- By stealing time on the job when we don’t give a full day’s work for a full day’s pay (Ephesians 6:5-7).
- By not giving an A+ effort in all that we do (Deuteronomy 25:13-16).
- By claiming “finders keepers,” which isn’t at all sanctioned in the Bible (Deuteronomy 22:1-3).
- By not paying our debts quickly (Leviticus 19:13; Romans 13:8).
- By borrowing something without asking permission or giving credit (Deuteronomy 19:14).
All of these are subtle, stealthy, secretive ways of robbing someone of time, ideas, value, interest, credit, or even actual possessions!
So here are 4 ways to avoid becoming an thief:
- Learn to be content with what you have—Philippians 4:12-13.
- Don’t let worry rule your life—Matthew 6:25-34.
- Work hard for your employer or employees—Ephesians 6:5-9.
- If you have stolen, make full restitution as quickly as possible—Luke 19:8.
Every one of the Ten Commandments are broken in our hearts long before they are worked out in our bodies. So listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you to make sure you are not a sneaky thief!