In this sermon, Youth Director Mike Bittenbender preaches on the Eighth Commandment– you shall not steal. Stealing encompasses more than we may realize.
Let me also bring up the dictionary definitions for stealing: theft, robbery, burglary, larceny, shoplifting, plunder, holdup, plagiarism, fraud, embezzlement, blackmail, graft, misappropriation, loot, piracy, to pilfer, sneak, swindle, swipe, the list goes on!
Graham Smith elaborated on stealing by looking at Proverbs 10:2 which states “Ill- gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.” He says “there are ways to prosper the wrong way and to prosper the right way. He mentions 4 ways to prosper the wrong way; prospering through dishonesty, defrauding, defaulting, and depending on luck.”
There is this sense about this commandment that requires us to be generous with what we have… Rather than guard and protect our possession, we should be working hard that we may be generous with what we have. DeYoung again in his book states: “It means thinking of others as we would want to be thought of: ‘I want laws, virtues and practices that protect and promote my neighbor’s well-being.’ and I want to work hard so that I may be able to help my neighbor when he is not doing well.” We have this dual sense of refraining from stealing and to have a spirit of generosity.
Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Is your treasure in your things, in your possessions? In your bank account, hoarding it? Is your treasure in your job, or perhaps your family? If your treasure is your gifting, something you are great at, and that isn’t being used for the Lord; If you aren’t building up treasures in heaven, you are violating this eighth commandment.
Whenever you are so worried about things on this earth that it causes inaction regarding the needs of your neighbor, you are violating this eighth commandment. Whenever you are building up treasures in heaven, trusting in the Lord, doing his will for you and your abilities, loving your neighbor, then congratulations. And if this becomes overwhelming for you, if all of a sudden, through self-reflection you begin to feel the weight of the world on you, there is good news.
In Luke chapter 23, Jesus is crucified. On either side of Him are criminals, often thought to be robbers and thieves. One mocks Jesus, the other rebukes his fellow criminal, pointing out that they were being punished justly for their actions, yet this man has done nothing wrong. Then he pleads for Jesus to remember him in the Kingdom of God. Jesus responds by telling him, “Truly, truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” The thief knew who Jesus was. The thief, at the end of his life, knowing this, trusted in what Jesus claimed and asked to be remembered. The thief received salvation. A robber, a thief, is with Jesus in heaven…