When you read the eighth commandment of “thou shall not steal” it seems all too easy to think, “Well, this one doesn’t apply to me!” While you might not have a case of the sticky fingers per se, I think you will find this week that stealing comes in more than one form. Whether you struggle with thievery or not, my prayer is that we all find a challenge from this week’s devotional series.
Our passage today in Leviticus addresses the idea of physical stealing. These verses outline the most obvious form of theft- don’t take what isn’t yours! What a novel idea, right? If I see something that is not mine, but I want it, the appropriate response is to ask for it or purchase it, not simply swipe it!
My freshmen year of college I studied at The University of Tampa. The residence hall I stayed in had a communal laundry room on the first floor of the building. One Sunday afternoon I was doing some laundry as per usual, and had left my hamper behind so I could take a nice walk around campus. As I came back from my stroll and started to make my way back to the laundry room, I was baffled. Walking right past me was a resident assistant (RA) carrying my laundry hamper! Surely it couldn’t have been mine; surely it was just a look alike. Nope! I went back to the laundry room and searched for my hamper and was met with no avail. I had been robbed.
While robbed might be a strong word to describe the theft of a $5 laundry hamper, it wasn’t the loss of the item that made me upset; it was the principle of it. Someone I trusted, and someone who was in a leadership role had taken something that did not belong to them. Throughout the week we will take an in depth look into how we steal in many areas of life, but there is one common idea that ties all of them together- don’t take what isn’t yours.
No matter how valuable or lack there of something might be, taking something without consent or purchase is stealing. Next time you are tempted to take something because “they will never notice” or because ” that means nothing to them,” remember the words we read today in Leviticus, “do not steal.” Do not steal, period.