Though most people wouldn’t consider themselves thieves in the ordinary sense (a burglar or shoplifter), many today are thieves according to God’s Word, which is the standard we will be judged by when Christ returns. We must learn to stop stealing, work hard and share with others!
“17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7 Therefore do not be partners with them.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
DON’T STEAL BUT WORK HARD AND SHARE!
Ephesians 4:28, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”
Three Things to Consider from the Passage
- STOP STEALING: The choice to stop stealing is 100% based on your choice.
- WORK HARD: The Bible encourages hard work, lest we don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
- SHARE WITH THOSE IN NEED: We should live generous lives (Luke 6:38).
FOUR WAYS WE CAN STEAL FROM GOD
Malachi 3:6-12, “6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’
8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.”
- TITHES: Ten percent of our total income belongs to God (Matthew 23:23 & Hebrews 7:8).
- OFFERINGS: What God puts on our hearts to give towards ministry- Christian charities, missions, etc. (2 Corinthians 9:7-11).
- TIME: Our time belongs to God to do His will (Ephesians 5:15-17).
- TALENT: God gave us our talents and abilities to fulfill His purpose in our lives (Deuteronomy 8:18).
FOUR WAYS WE CAN STEAL FROM PEOPLE
Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal.”
- JOBS: Stealing time, products and materials from our jobs.
- FRIENDS: Borrowing things and not giving them back.
- GOVERNMENT: Stealing from the government on taxes.
- COMMUNITY: Stealing from stores and others.
FIVE WAYS WE SHOULD WORK
- WORK AS UNTO THE LORD: Colossians 3:23-24, “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
- DO WORK THAT IS USEFUL: Ephesians 4:28, “…doing something useful with their own hands.”
- WORK HARD AND GO THE EXTRA MILE: Matthew 5:41, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”
- WORK FOR SUCCESS: 1 Samuel 18:14, “In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.”
- WORK TO SHARE: Ephesians 4:28, “…must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”
THREE WAYS YOU CAN SHARE WITH OTHERS
- SHARE CHRISTIANITY IN DISCIPLESHIP: We should be willing to share our time and talent with others to impart to them the Christian way of living (Matthew 28:18-20).
- SHARE YOUR TIME & RESOURCES WITH CHARITY: We should be willing to be Good Samaritans to those God wants us to help. We may not be able to help everyone, but everyone can help someone! (Luke 10:25-37)
- SHARE GOD’S WISDOM IN GIVING A HAND UP: We should share our wisdom pertaining to life skills- parenting, marriage, working, etc. (Matthew 10:8, Proverbs 13:14,20)
Ask God to help you see work not as a curse, but a blessing to utilize your talents for Kingdom purposes!