“You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15

This one might be another one that, on the surface, seems easy to keep. I’ve never broken into someone’s house or store to steal money or possessions. I’ve never held up a bank at gunpoint. But is that all there is to the idea of stealing?

Leviticus 19:35 says, “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity.” Where might this apply in our lives today? When you measure the length of a work day, do you give your employer a full day? When you download a song and share it with friends or family, have you paid for the quantity you are using? When “working the system” do I weigh the needs of the system above my own, or do I take advantage of it?

Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”  Again, we see here a higher standard. Not only that we would not steal, but that we would work to be able to give to those who are unable to provide for themselves.

Is there clutter in your manger today? Are there people or places you’ve been taking from, not even realizing your are stealing. Maybe it’s your family, maybe you’ve been taking without giving back. Maybe it’s your neighbor as you dine richly while they go without. Maybe it’s God as you enjoy the world and forget to give back to Him.

Father, search my heart that I may be pure and blameless before you. You have given me everything I need, let me not take with wrong motives. I have the ability to do something useful with my own hands, let me do and share the bounty. In Jesus’ name, amen.