Sunday, September 18, 1994


READ: Leviticus 19:9-15




"You shall not steal."


Exodus 20:15


Tom and Pauline Nichter were a homeless, jobless couple who had

been living in their car or with relatives for months. So the

wallet they found containing $100 bills looked like a windfall.

But they gave it all back to the tourist who lost it. "We could

have used that money," said Pauline. "But we weren't brought up

that way, and we didn't want our son brought up that way."


If everyone practiced honesty like that, it would revolutionize

society. Employee theft of goods and time would stop. Shop-

lifting would go out of style. Overcharging for goods and services

would end. Prices could be lowered. And we would all have more of

what is rightfully ours.


The eighth commandment reveals God's desire for that kind of

society. It's based on the principle that everything belongs to

God and that when we cheat an institution or a person we are

stealing from the Lord. It also protects everyone's right to be a

property owner in the only sense that God allows -- not to amass

more and more for personal gain but to manage wisely what is His

for the good of others.


A living relationship with Christ can keep us from being thieves.

As that relationship grows, He will teach us how to be givers and

not takers.


- Dennis J. DeHaan


To take from others what is theirs

Is robbing from the Lord;

For all they have is from His hand --

It's theirs by His own word.






Christians don't own their wealth -- they OWE it.