‘Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need’ (Eph. 4:28)
Once a thief tried to break into our house. He failed to enter but in the morning we saw the broken place in the roof where he attempted to come in. I remember thinking ‘what type of man is this thief trying and failing to steal? He must have been disappointed that his labor of breaking in failed to make a profit. Maybe God warned him to repent…’ This was in my mind that morning seeing the damage to the wall.
The Bible commands us not to steal! It is one of the Ten Commandments. A thief is somebody who takes something from another without permission and without desire to return back the stolen property. A thief steals money or material things. Jesus said that we should not gather wealth on earth because there will always be thieves to covet and steal. But we should store spiritual riches because these are under the protection of the Holy Spirit and thieves cannot steal them. Even then, thieves may damage your peace of mind, your joy of living or your testimony as a servant of God. The evil spirit of stealing does great damage in a family or congregation. This is because when property is missing and the thief is not found people become suspicious and afraid of one another. This destroys the unity of the Spirit.
God does not bless a thief. He will eventually lose the stolen property. Both the victim and the thief suffers. Stealing is the work of the devil. To be able to practice stealing you must be an apprentice to the devil. It is only in Christ that freedom from this demon may be found! The Holy Spirit alone is able to stop and reject the thief who comes to only ‘steal, kill and destroy’.
Of course, the worse form of stealing is to steal from God, by refusing to pay your tithes, to give offerings for the work of God, or by coming to church and refusing to serve God in any way at all! Religious stealing is very dangerous! Repent! Worship God!
The thief does not wish to work, but rather to live off of others who work. The thief looks upon the needy as the vulnerable, whose weaknesses he may very well use to his advantage, and thus to prey upon them. The Christian must put away laziness and go to work. The Christian views the needs of others as the opportunity to manifest the love and grace of God to men, and thus reaches out to help, giving of his own resources. Nothing more dramatically demonstrates the radical change which conversion, faith in Christ, produces in the life of a sinner than that change which should occur in the Christian who was formerly a thief.
Stealing takes from others with no thought of giving in return. Justice demands that when one takes he must give something equal in return. Christianity teaches us to give freely, with no expectation of getting something in return. Child of God, prove that you are converted by producing fruits of repentance, by becoming generous and kind to others! Pay your tithes! In Jesus name, amen!