In this week’s message we look at the command, “You shall not steal.” Like many of the other commandments, this seems so simple but runs much deeper than we might think. The prohibition of stealing covered a wide array of things in the ancient world from stealing material items to livestock to people to bad-faith business. Writers and commentators have noted that stealing has serious implications for society including indulging sinful/wicked impulses, imposing a cost burden on someone else, demeaning the image of God in the victim of the theft, interfering with a person’s stewardship of what God has given them, and causing distrust and conflict between people.
While most of our homes are not filled with stolen items we may be more guilty of stealing than we think. We often steal time from work (and even family). Workplace theft (pilfering) is so commonplace that we might not even consider it wrong. In addition, we may do things like take advantage of the kindness of strangers or fail to have integrity in our business dealings.
By way of practical application, we need to guard our integrity, do our own work, and strive to be givers, not takers. God is the ultimate example of this. Every human being who has ever lived is guilty of stealing the same thing: God’s glory. Instead of repaying us according to our sin, God sent His Son, Jesus, who fully glorified His Father and, in the process, paid our penalty and debt for us by God’s grace. In this way, the 8th Commandment helps us understand the depth and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.