The Eighth Commandment states that we are not to steal (Exodus 20:15). You may say I have not robbed a bank or held a person up; therefore, I am not guilty of breaking this commandment. Have you ever misrepresented your time on a timesheet, taken supplies from work, cheated on your taxes, not reported being undercharged, or published another’s work without attribution (i.e., committed plagiarism), etc.? (1 Peter 4:15) If You cannot say “Amen,” say “Oh Me!”
Whether we take from a person, large corporation, or government does not change the fact that it is stealing and makes us thieves. Increasingly we read of fraudulent activities that lead to the stealing of retirement funds from individuals thus placing their latter life finances in jeopardy. Even in churches, we have cases of those taking money (in their eyes a loan but in the law’s eyes embezzlement) from the treasury to meet some personal need with the thought they would return it before it was missed.
Have you ever misrepresented something to sell it? Have you ever substituted something inferior or deceptively reduced the quantity to improve sales? (Micah 6:11. Deuteronomy 25:13-16. Leviticus 19:35,36) Have you charged excessive interest? (Ezekiel 22:12) Have you tried to beat a seller out of their profit by stating how inferior something was when in reality it was completely adequate? (Proverbs 20:14)
Employers, have you used a downturn of the economy as an opportunity to take advantage of your employees by downsizing the staff and/or freezing their wages beyond what is necessary for the business to remain successful? Even demanding the remaining workers maintain the same or increased level of production and thus netting an excessive profit for the executives? (Deuteronomy 24:14. Isaiah 3:15). Studies have shown that “rightsizing” over the years has simply resulted in a boost in executive salaries (their supposed reward for saving the company) while the true saviors are the employees that are required to work longer and longer hours with no pay or no pay increase to compensate for the reduced staff.
Employees have you given your employer their due? Christian, do you work for your boss as if you are working for the Lord? The proper attitude for Christians towards our Christian or non-Christian masters (bosses) according to the flesh is to be always obedient. However, obedient only if their requirements do not violate a law of God (or the law of man), but even then submission with respect must be shown (Romans 13:1-8). We are called to willingly and unconditionally submit to those over us with fear and trembling while zealously discharging our duties. With singleness of heart we are to be obedient not in rigid formality, pretense, or hypocrisy but in inward reality and sincerity, and with an undivided heart (Ephesians 6:5,6; Colossians 3:22,23; 1 Timothy 6:1,2; Titus 2:9,10; 1 Peter 2:18-25). We are to be obedient even when the boss is not looking knowing that nothing is hidden from the eyes of God (Hebrews 4:13).
The Law of Consequence for Violating the Commandment
Those that chose a life of stealing will find that stolen things are a burden that brings no lasting peace or happiness (Jeremiah 17:11).
I remember when as a young child a kite my two brothers and I were playing with got caught on telephone pole lines. We could not get it down, and we were due to leave from home with our parents for Wednesday night service. However, the neighborhood bully saw the predicament and let us know that he would get it down for himself while we were away. This troubled us, children and we related the situation to our Dad to which he said, do not worry as it would be challenging for him to get down and even if he did he will not enjoy it for nothing stolen can ever be enjoyed for long. God used that moment to etch this truth into my spiritual heart, and I have seen it confirmed in my life as well as the lives of others. Things stolen bring no lasting joy but instead become a burden (Proverbs 20:17). Thanks, Dad!
Employers that abuse their people will have to answer to the Lord of the Angelic Army (i.e., Hosts) of Heaven (James 5:1-4. 1 Thessalonians 4:6. Hebrews 10:31). Companies that exploit their workers in an attempt to gain end up losing due to reaping what they sow in the form of natural disasters, abnormal equipment failures, and human errors all affecting their bottom line (Galatians 6:7). Yet, they often fail to connect the dots… (Romans 1:22. 2 Corinthians 4:4. Matthew 15:14).
Employees often wonder why they are failed to be promoted over the years… could it be that they have failed to demonstrate proper submission to authority? That is, you must become a good follower before you can become a good leader. However, it could just be because you are trying to climb the wrong ladder and our loving Heavenly Father is saving you from the pain of a promotion that is not in His plan for you. Remember, rejection is often God’s protection!
Church are you giving preferential treatment to those that have wealth, prestige, or power in order to obtain something from them? Do you discriminate based on race, gender, age, etc? If so, you are stealing from those you are not treating fairly thus committing sin (James 2:1-9) and quenching the Holy Spirit (1). (Ephesians 4:25-32)
The Opportunity of Blessing for Keeping the Commandment
Those that choose to not steal will be blessed (Acts 20:34,35). Just as in Commandments 10 (1) and 9 (1) to walk in love towards others will fulfill this law. For love does not steal but instead gives (Ephesians 4:28).
Employer when you actually treat your most significant asset (i.e., your people) like they are your greatest asset then you will thrive. (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). How do you build a great company? By greatly building up your people!
Employee God will promote you in His time as you learn to give the company its due and submit to their leadership (Psalms 75:6,7) Perhaps there are no great or important people where you work for God to bring you before and you will have to learn to suffer effectively (1) while you wait for the promotion or perhaps until you are willing to change jobs (Proverbs 18:16). Until then serve in such a manner that you are a joy to your boss and not a burden (Hebrews 13:17, James 1:9-11).
Satan the original thief that tempted Adam and Eve into stealing (1) and eating the forbidden fruit is doing the same today. That is, he is trying to get you to steal on multiple levels so that he can steal, kill, and destroy your life (John 10:10). However, if we learn to depend on God, who is love Himself, He will meet all of our needs (Philippians 4:19), wants (Psalms 23:1) and desires (Psalms 37:4) by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:4-10) thus freeing us from stealing (Proverbs 30:7-9).
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
Links to the entire series:
The Ten Commandments Series:
- The Ten Opportunities
- The Tenth Opportunity
- The Ninth Opportunity
- The Eighth Opportunity
- The Seventh Opportunity
- The Sixth Opportunity
- The Fifth Opportunity
- The Fourth Opportunity
- The Third Opportunity
- The Second Opportunity
- The First Opportunity
- The Null Opportunity