The Seventh Commandment
“You Shall Not Steal”
What Does This Mean?
We should fear and love God that we do not steal our neighbors money or possessions, nor get them in a dishonest way, but we should help him to improve and protect his property and way of making a living.
Do you treat something differently if it doesn’t belong to you? Are you more careful when you are driving your parents’ care than you would be if it was your own? Are you more careful to be clean when eating at a friend’s house than you are at your own?
In this commandment, we are really taught to do two things. First, to respect our neighbor’s possessions and Second, to properly understand how to treat our own. Even if you’ve never stolen something, you can probably think of a time where you didn’t do everything you could to improve and protect his property and way of making a living. It’s pretty easy for us to justify ourselves in this kind of behavior because we naturally think that we should do everything we can to improve and protect our property and way of making a living first and only help our neighbor afterward. Picture yourself with two friends watching the football game. You’ve ordered a pizza which has 8 slices. Each of you is currently eating a second slice, there are only two left. You want one. So what do you do? You probably start eating faster! That’s our natural way isn’t it! Instead, we should be going out of our way, even putting our own property and way of making a living at risk in order to help others. Anything less is, really, stealing!
The second thing we are taught here is how to treat our own money. Remember how you tend to treat stuff differently if it belongs to someone else? Truthfully, we should treat all that belongs to us that way because none of it really belongs to us. Everything is God’s! He made it all. And what we have, we only have because He has given it to us. We are stewards left to take care of what the Master has given until He returns. And He has left us in no doubt about what we should do with it. 1. We should use it to take care of our family. 2. We should use it, generously to help the poor, especially the poor in our own congregations. 3. We should set aside the first fruits as a gift to God’s Church so that the message of forgiveness and salvation might be proclaimed to the world! We should do all this out of love for all the many gifts He has given us – especially the best gift: His Son, our Savior who delivers us from the death our sins of greed and selfishness deserve. 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”