Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

32. The Truth about Taking – Part 2

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Exodus 20:15- “You must not steal.”

Ephesians 4:28 – “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”

After seeing the 3 ways of getting anything in life, by gift, by work and by stealing we now see how taking affects our:

A. Relationships

Because all relationships are built on trust, theft undermines and destroys the foundation of our relationships because it trashes trust. But it’s not just the physical things that we take which ruin relationships. We can steal someone’s good name, we can steal someone’s relationship with others but with each type of theft we leave ourselves and others empty instead of full. Instead of getting we actually gut ourselves and others.  No thief ever feels satisfied, and they are left with less not more. Stealing doesn’t profit us it poisons us because while we may gain physically, we lose socially and spiritually. While it might temporarily boost our bank account it leaves our hearts bankrupt. The recklessness of stealing has a way of coming back in negative ways not just on those we steal from but on us. When we steal a good name through gossip, it causes us to become people that others won’t share with or spend time with. It trashes trust and ends up ruining our reputation not just theirs.  Instead of gaining we lose and experience the loneliness of relational isolation. Stealing always causes us to draw the short straw. This is illustrated so well in the following true story from our dim-witted criminals department: A man walked into a convenience store, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving his $20 bill on the counter. So how much did he get from the drawer? Fifteen bucks. Go figure. We never really get ahead through theft, what we leave behind is our self-respect and broken trust from others. Judas is a good example, the Scriptures say that he regularly helped himself to the treasury of the disciples John 12:6, He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.”Not only did he lose his own self-respect, evidenced in taking his own life, but he also lived a miserable life of guilt before this. Thieves are never happy people, often they are the first to worry about people stealing for its always at the forefront of their mind.

B. Recklessness

When we even excuse the small ways we steal, whether taking answers from someone else’s test in school to taking home office supplies that your company paid for we not only hurt ourselves but all society. Stealing is strictly a reckless activity for all, and all are diminished by it! Taking shortcuts, which is the essence of theft, may appear to bless us, but instead of helping it only hurts us. As we see in the story of John Smith. He was a loyal carpenter, working for a very successful building contractor who called him into his office one day and said, “John, I’m putting you in charge of the next house we build. I want you to order all the materials and oversee the whole job from the ground up.” John accepted the assignment with great enthusiasm and excitement. For ten days before ground was broken at the building site, John studied the blueprints. He checked every measurement, every specification. Suddenly he had a thought. “If I am really in charge,” he said to himself, “why couldn’t I cut a few corners, use less expensive materials, and put the extra money in my pocket? Who would know the difference? Once the house is painted, it will look just great.” So, John set about his scheme. He ordered second-grade lumber, but his reports indicated that it was top-grade. He ordered inexpensive concrete for the foundation, put in cheap wiring, and cut every corner he could, yet he reported the purchase of much better materials. When the home was completed and fully painted, he asked the contractor to come and see it. “John,” said the contractor, “what a magnificent job you have done! You have been such a good and faithful carpenter all these years that I have decided to show my gratitude by giving you this house you have built, as a gift!” While everything might have looked good on the outside John knew the truth of what was really on the inside. Like the subpar concrete that soon would crumble John’s character revealed some serious cracks. So, what about you are there any areas in your life where your tempted to take short cuts to try and get ahead? In the end it’s like the old game of snakes and ladders, we might feel like we are climbing the ladder to success but in truth we end up spend more time sliding backwards on the backs of those slipper snakes.



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