We have been considering the variety of ways people have found to violate the Eighth Commandment.
We talked about things like defaulting on loans, deceiving customers and even defrauding our employer by getting paid for more time than we worked or by taking things home that don’t belong to us. These are all forms of stealing.
Another type of stealing is by defrauding or deceiving the government.
Romans 13:6-7 refers to the importance of paying our taxes. Tax evasion is illegal. That is another form of stealing, so don’t do it.
On the other hand, tax avoidance is good stewardship. There’s no reason anyone should overpay their taxes.
A wise steward will try to maximize his or her money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but be careful not to allow tax avoidance to turn into tax evasion.
Another way people steal is when they defraud the Lord.
In Malachi 3:8, we are told that we are robbing God when we fail to “bring our tithe into the storehouse.” The tithe is a tenth of our increase or 10 percent.
According to God’s Word, the first 10 percent of all I make belongs to the Lord. None of us would have anything if it weren’t for God, so why are we so reluctant when he tells us to return one-tenth of our increase to him?
He could have said 20 percent or 50 percent, but he chose just 10 percent. I don’t know why he chose that amount, but that’s what he did. If I am paying my bills and buying things with money that belongs to him, I am robbing God.
It seems like there is a never-ending list of ways people have come up with to steal. People steal because they think they can get away with it. They think nobody is going to find out.
If you knew that when you stole something (like towels from the hotel) that everybody would find out about it, would you still steal? Not likely.
But Satan comes along and says, “Nobody’s going to know. Besides, you owe it to yourself. Your employer is taking advantage of you. You’re not getting paid enough. It’s OK to take those supplies home. It’s OK to take that equipment. Nobody will ever know. They will never miss it, and they don’t need it anyway.”
Don’t exchange your integrity for Satan’s lies. Even if nobody else ever finds out, God knows. He’s the one you’re going to have to give an account to on judgment day.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at email@example.com.