Am I a Thief?

This summer, the morning messages at our church have focused on The Ten Commandments. Many of us have a pretty good idea what they are. Some of us can even recite them. But do we really understand the full ramifications of these  “ten words” given by God Himself?

As our pastor said, we can’t just say, “Oh, I don’t steal chocolate bars from the corner store, so I’m good. ‘You shall not steal.’ Check.”

I wish it were that easy, but no.

I can’t shake my finger at you and say, “I know you’re a thief,” but I can point to myself and say that yes, yes I am.

No, I don’t take chocolate bars from the corner store – or anything else, for that matter. In fact, when I was a teenager – many, many, many years ago – I was accused of stealing $60.00 from a young woman at the factory where I worked. Thankfully, my mom was able to vouch for me, saying I wouldn’t even take a cookie without asking.

So, how am I a thief?

Let’s see . . .

Do I always use our money as I should? Most definitely not. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a spender, not a saver. Often, over the years, I’ve thought to myself, “I’ll do better tomorrow – or next month or next year.” If only I’d taken the advice I gave my children when they wanted something new. “Wait until next time we come to the store. If you still want it then, enough to spend your own money on it, then you can get it.” New and shiny soon loses it’s appeal and then I want something else that’s newer and shinier.

And my time . . . do I always use it wisely? Pardon me while I laugh hysterically – or sigh and get depressed. This doesn’t mean I’m working 24/7. Work has its place, as does family, friends, and rest. I can’t say I’ve found the right balance. As a Christian, I’ve heard about tithing my money. In the same vein, I’ve often thought it would be a good idea to tithe my time. Although this isn’t a biblical directive, I believe my life would be much different if I devoted from 1.5 to 2.5 hours each day to prayer and studying God’s Word.

And even if I got the time thing right, how about my attention? I can spend hours in a certain location with certain people, but my thoughts can be elsewhere. Can I, therefore, really say I’ve devoted that time as I should have?

As the fall TV season approaches, I will have to be careful. During the summer, it’s easy to keep my TV viewing to a minimum. After all, almost everything is in reruns. Like everything else, the appeal of TV is the appeal of relationships. I begin to care about the characters and then I want to watch as their story unfolds. That and sometimes I just want to veg. (grin)

Now, before you think this is all about legalism and condemnation, I want to stop and say this: Condemnation is like a soaking wet, heavy wool blanket. It keeps us down and there doesn’t seem to be any way out. Conviction, on the other hand, may feel the same at first, but it’s the polar opposite. I believe God convicts us of sin in our lives and, at the same time, empowers us to change.

And why does He do this? It really is for our own good. If we live the life He instructs us to live, He will be glorified and we will benefit in countless ways, now and for all eternity.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe we can earn God’s favour and a place in heaven. Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation comes by accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour (John 3:16). And when we do so, His Holy Spirit will enable us to fulfill the good works He prepared for us long before we were even born (Ephesians 2:10).

If you would like to listen to the sermon “The Heart of Stealing” and others in the series, visit efbc.net

 

6 thoughts on “Am I a Thief?

  1. Thanks for your interesting take on stealing as a Christian. I too am guilty of not spending enough time in the pursuit of God’s path for my life. Although, as I grow older, I feel more and more like writing might actually be what God wants me to do, so is spending my time in pursuit of a writing career that would glorify Him worship, or not?

    On a mission trip I chaperoned this summer, one of the key tenets that was taught to the high schoolers was the idea that worship is not spending time in church, or reading the Bible, or going to youth group, or praying. Every minute of every day is an opportunity to worship, no matter what we do. If you look at your life as a Christian in this way, then it is much easier to spend the time worshipping God that He would want us to.

    I am guilty of not tithing my money to my church. I do contribute, just not 10%. Our finances have been so tight as a family that we feel that giving the full 10% would lead to us not paying something else important, like utilities or our mortgage. I know that the Bible says that the first 10% should go to God, before any other considerations, and this is an area where I am continuing to work forward in my faith.

    I agree with your sentiment that, by not offering enough of our resources, monetary, time, or otherwise, to God is tantamount to stealing from Him, and I will work to improve this area in my life. Thanks so much for this thoughtful post.

    1. Thanks so much for responding, Mike. Your comments are 100 percent in line with what my hubby taught in his message last Sunday evening. He is the Music Director at our church and every now and then has the opportunity to share. Even though music is obviously very important to him, he believes that once we become Christians everything we say, do, and think should be an act of worship.

      And, in all honesty, we are not giving 10 percent at this point either. We are seeking to do better, but there are other considerations right now. Our pastor, a diligent student of the Word, does not necessarily believe that required giving is a tithe in the traditional sense. I know Christians are divided on this issue, but I also know stewardship is so much more than our financial resources.

      Be blessed, Mike. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

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