Scripture Passage: Exodus 20:15
Exodus 20:15 reveals the eighth commandment: “You shall not steal.”
It seems that we have forgotten the basic rules of honesty. Any time we take anything that belongs to someone else or keep from someone the thing that we owe to them, we are guilty of stealing. There are three grand principles found in Ephesians 4:28, that we are to etch into the consciousness of our children:
Integrity: “Let him who stole steal no longer…”
Stealing isn’t just burglary or embezzlement; it can also mean fraud. Lying is a form of stealing; half-hearted work is stealing. Gambling is another form of thievery; it is an attempt to get what belongs to someone else without giving him anything for it. We belong to God, whether we acknowledge it or not. When we live for ourselves and not for God, we are robbing God of what is His. When we fail to tithe to the church, we are stealing from God, as well. Adrian Rogers explains, “It pays to serve Jesus; it pays every step of the way. You have defrauded yourself: In seeking to get, you’re the one who loses.”
Industry: “…but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good…”
Work is not a curse; it is a gift from God, and absolutely imperative in our world. When someone receives something without working for it, someone else has to work for it without receiving it. We must begin instilling a good work ethic into our children early, so they grow up to become hard workers.
Generosity: “…that he may have something to give him who has need.”
The opposite of stealing is giving. Just as we teach our children the importance of hard work, we must teach them the importance of charity. As Christians, we labor to meet our needs and give to others. It’s a sin to expect the government to care for our loved ones when we, ourselves, ought to do it.
Adrian Rogers says, “Misery comes from mirrors. Joy comes from windows when we’re beginning to pour out and give to others.”
Apply it to your life
Would you like to teach your children the importance of working with honesty, vigor, and the expectation to give it away? Adrian Rogers emphasizes this powerful advice from John Wesley: “Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.”