This is the eighth part in the Beyond Today Bible study series: The Ten Commandments. The Eighth Commandment gets to the heart of our responsibility toward God and man. Obeying this teaching determines whether we truly understand the give way of God’s law. In this study, we will learn just how far off the mark we are with this law of God.
[Darris McNeely] Going through the study on The Ten Commandments has been a very interesting one. I’m sure that you’ve found it to be so as well, as we’ve dug deep into each one of these commandments. When David said, “Oh, how love I Thy Law,” he no doubt spoke from his own experience of plumbing the depths of the Law of God, and going into each of the commandments, as deeply as we have, has been an eye-opening experience. Probably twice in my years in the ministry, I went through each of the commandments in a sermon series, and doing it again here is still fresh.
This one tonight, the Eighth Commandment, at least, has been particularly sobering and humbling just to see its implications for each one of us, as we look at what Exodus 20:15 Exodus 20:15You shall not steal.
American King James Version×says. It’s very simple, I will turn to it, I think I can quote this one pretty well straight out, “Thou shalt not steal.” That’s the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” In studying and looking at this, I ran across an article that I’d had in my files from about four years ago in the Wall Street Journal where a group had done some studies about the honesty that people had. And again, it was very enlightening. One of the points they made is that moral integrity on any part of the law, but especially on either being honest or being honest about things and material goods connected with this commandment, is often determined right at the very point of the teaching or the instruction. As we think about it, we’re reminded of we need to be honest. We need to have moral integrity. The actual study of it can cause us to be more so as we are right at that point of the examination of it.
There’s a story of a man who lost his bike or couldn’t find it, and he thought that it had been stolen from in front of the synagogue, where he attended every Sabbath. He went to the rabbi, and he told him what he thinks, “Rabbi, I think my bike got stolen.” The rabbi said, “Okay, I’ve got a solution for you. Next Sabbath, at the service, you sit on the front row. And as we’re going through the recitation of the Ten Commandments, you turn around and you look at everyone in the audience.” And he said, “If your bike’s been stolen and that person is in the audience, when we come to the mention of the Eighth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ you’ll be able to tell who it was because they won’t be able to look you in the eye.”
So the next Sabbath, the man was sitting on the front row, the rabbi starts going through the Ten Commandments. And after the service, he came up to the man, and he said, “Well, what did you find out?” He said, “Oh,” he said, “Look, it works.” But he said, “I didn’t have to wait until the Eighth Commandment, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ When you got to the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ I remembered where I left my bike.” [audience groans]
The story has a point to it, that when we are confronted with the law, with the teaching of the commandment, we are brought up short and it instructs us. As one study showed, when people are confronted with the choice of being honest or not, at the beginning of an exercise, if they are confronted at the beginning, they’re more likely to be honest as they go through. They cite a study that they did. What they actually wanted to do in this group studying this concept, they wanted to determine whether when people fill out their IRS form every year for taxes, you know how we do that, and when you get done with your form, it’s at the last page or it’s actually usually on the front form, the 1040, the main one for most of us, unless you’ve got a lot of offshore accounts and some properties that you have to fill out a lot of other forms, but the place where you and I have to sign, that we affirm that everything we’ve said about that is true and honest, the people who put this survey together and were studying the subject said, “What if that line was the very beginning of the IRS document?” When confronted with honesty at the beginning, their theory was people would be more honest going through that form rather than at the end, when it’s over, you can justify.
Of course, the IRS would not let them try that. So what they did, they went to an insurance company. And they asked some insurance forms from the company, and they got a test group. They divided them into two groups. They gave the insurance forms. They had the sign where you affirm that what you’ve said is true, at the bottom, to half the group; and with the other half, they put it at the top. There was an insurance form where you had to basically tell how many miles you drive in a year because your rates are based on how many miles you drove. What they found out is that the people who put their name at the top reported more miles driven than the people who put their name at the end, in a traditional way, who reported less and would then pay less insurance premiums.
Their conclusion was, and the point of the article where I was reading it, was that they’re looking at how dishonesty works. The title of the article is “Why We Lie.” And one of the things you find out and you realize, the Eight and the Ninth Commandment are tied together, quite well. We can lie to the point where we steal, and honesty is at the heart of it there. But their point was what we found in their studies, everybody has the capacity to be dishonest. Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats, just by a little, except for a few outliers at the top or the bottom.
The behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. The one, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; and on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly it’s this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high profile cases like the Bernie Madoffs, it’s the small-scale mass cheating that is most corrosive to a society. I would add, more applicable to us, probably, as we think about our lives and where we are in conformity with this commandment. And as we will see, God really has a lot to say about it and teach us in regard to this law.
The Eighth Commandment, when you stop and think about it, relates to all the other Ten Commandments. Stealing—theft—will start as coveting, which is a violation of the Tenth Commandment. We want honor, we want glory, we want to perhaps to be seen as honest, or we want more. And so it begins when we want something that is not ours.
Greed causes physical violence. If you read James 4, God says, “Where does war come from among you? You lust and you have not.” So greed can lead to physical violence. We will also lie to cover up our intents, a violation of the Ninth Commandment. When we follow Satan’s way of get, that dishonors God as our Father, which is a violation of the Fifth Commandment, to honor your parents. It also elevates self above God. What we want, what we demand, what we feel is ours, and we will take, that is not, we will steal. That elevates ourselves above God which violates the First and the Second Commandments, like idolatry. Stealing then, we could say, would not happen if we deeply feared and respected the name of God, which is what the Third Commandment talks about. If we deeply feared and respected that, we wouldn’t steal. Think about that, when it comes to how we view it and when it comes across the opportunity in our lives.
In Acts 20, the apostle Paul reminded a group of elders, as he was leading them in the city of Ephesus, about his way of life as he had been among them as a minister. For 18 months, the apostle Paul had been in Ephesus, teaching, raising up the Church and several others. He left and then he came back through, and he had a meeting with the elders where he said that, “You’re not going to see me anymore. This will be our last ministerial gathering and conference.” And he said in verse 35, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that He said it is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is more blessed to give than to receive. That’s the philosophy and a way of life based upon God’s Word. A way of give, as opposed to a way of get. Remember the two trees? Two ways of life, two philosophies, two approaches—give and get. God’s law of love is based upon giving, serving. Satan’s way is based upon taking, getting that which is not ours, taking as much from the other person. Paul said, “I lived among you with a very powerful example whereby I gave more than I took from you.”
In Ephesians chapter 4, as he had written to the church in Ephesus, he makes a statement. “Let him who stole, steal no longer, but rather let him work or labor, working with his hands what is good that he may have something to give him who has need.” Paul, in other instruction, to Timothy and also to the church at Thessalonica, he had said, “Look, you don’t work, you don’t get. You don’t get any assistance. You’re supposed to work with your hands, and this is a very important matter of sharing with others. Work to be productive.” As we look at how this teaching impacts so much of our life and the things that we are involved with in the world, in our everyday life and the things that come to us, in a sense, where we come right up to a point and we are…
I think it’s the lights, Tim. For some reason, these lights are generating a lot of heat here tonight. I don’t know why that is, but forgive me for that. But the air conditioning will help too, probably. [laughs]
Let’s look at something that, for many of us, in our working lives, we recognize, again, the biblical teaching, Paul says to labor and to work properly. This gets into the area of employee-employer relations. If we don’t give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, we could be guilty of stealing from our employer. Paul talks about this in Ephesians chapter 6 here, verses 5 and 7, speaking to those who are bondservants, slaves. He says, “Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling and sincerity of heart as to Christ, not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Now, he was speaking to those who were in slavery, but we can take the principle and apply it to us in our employment. We’re not owned by our employers, mostly, but we do enter into a contractual relationship. I will work 40 hours and you will pay me the wage we agreed to. He says, “Don’t be a men-pleaser or eye-service. In other words, be honest, be open, be a hard worker,” verse 7, “with goodwill, doing service as to the Lord and not to man.” He was telling the one who was a slave in the first century Roman world. “Look, you have to look at your job. You are working for God, even though you’re owned by someone else. We cannot change the system.” This is how Paul dealt with an institutional matter of slavery, and one who was called into the church in the first century. The principle for us is that we work. We are working for God, no matter what our job is. If we take that approach, then we’re going to work fairly.
We all are aware that in America, especially, we have a long history of union organizing. For many years in American industry, workers were not unionized. There were abuses on the part of the employer, which lead to labor organization early on in that movement, and Teamsters and UAW and garment workers, right on down the list, every group has a labor representation, and that creates conflict. It’s created a lot of good; it’s also created another level of corruption. But it is what we have. But in principle, it did have its origins in employers not doing their job. We could argue that back and forth, but I’m not going to. But I think we should understand the basic responsibility there.
But God’s Word does tell an employer, “Look, you should give a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s pay,” James 5. An employer can steal from their employees if they don’t do this. James 5:1 James 5:1Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come on you.
American King James Version×, he says, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches are corrupted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and your corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped treasure in the last days, and indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You’ve lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury. You fatten your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned. You have murdered the just. He does not resist you.” An indictment of employers who are unfair, who do not adequately compensate their employees.
We could probably all tell horror stories of where employers have abused it, and we could also tell stories of where employees have abused it as well. I live out here in Batavia, next to what used to be a Ford plant, here in Batavia. The stories some of the locals have told us, since we’ve moved there, is one of the reasons it was shut down was because there were some workers who were shirking their duty, and there was a bowling alley right next door. They would clock in at the Ford plant, go next door and bowl and drink on their shift, and whatever level of management just winked at it. Productivity went down. And at a point when Ford had to make decisions about plant closings, this one didn’t make the cut. It got closed. There may be other reasons too, but when you hear stories like that, you realize that corruption, stealing, can go on on both ends of the spectrum. And that’s why it’s extremely important for all of us to recognize exactly how this works.
This study that I was telling you about, where the people conducting the study had the forms and realized that people would be more honest if their name was signed at the top, brings this out. The problem is more at the level of the people who are mostly honest, but who, when confronted with a choice at a moment, will more times than not, in some cases, be tempted to fudge a little bit. Hopefully, we’re not that way as Christians. But each of us, we know our heart, we know what we’ve run up against, and this is why this is a rather personal study. Just by looking at the teaching in the Bible, we are having our toes stepped on, every one of us, to one degree or the other. The article brings out the fact that locks on a door are to keep the basically honest people from coming in and taking your television set. The hardcore, on one end, they’re going to get in anyway. And those who are scrupulously honest and to a tee, they’re not even going to think about it. But those are extremes on the both ends. It’s the 98% of people that we have to worry about, and that’s why we have locks on our door.
Unfortunately, speaking across the board, and there statistics will prove this out, and that is where the moral corruption comes to pass, which causes us all to consider where we are. This is a very important matter to God. There’s quite a bit in His Word to direct us in this way.
I was looking at what was given back in Exodus 22, and I appreciate you turning that air conditioning on, that helps a great deal. Exodus chapter 22, I’m sure you out there, appreciate it. I thought I was still standing over the cooker out here, watching Tim. I just watched him flip the burgers tonight, and I didn’t do any of the work.
Exodus 22, this is after the giving of the Ten Commandments, and many of the details, where God was going into this with Moses, to show how the Law applied in an everyday situation, in society, for the Israelite, and for us today. And in chapter 22, it gets really specific about tithing. Not tithing, but property and the matter of stealing. Exodus 22:1 Exodus 22:1If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.
American King James Version×, “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.” Five-fold for a cow, four-fold for a sheep, if he’s caught and convicted. Here is the retribution. Here is the means of stemming this corruption going through this society.
One thing you read in the Bible, in the Old Testament, you don’t read about prisons. There were cities of refuge in cases of manslaughter for a person to flee to until a case could be adjudicated and other particulars there. But there wasn’t a debtors’ prison, and there wasn’t a place, a posh place for corporate crime perpetrators can go and kind of live a little bit better than those in the state institutions, the other, the normal prisons. They didn’t have anything like that. You stole, you paid it back, and there was an increase tacked on to it.
It goes on, verse 4, “If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it’s an ox, donkey, or a sheep, he will restore double.” So if the goat or the ox is still alive, and it’s found, the farm, the other, next-door neighbor’s property, you’re going to get that back plus another one. There is going to be double restitution.
Down in verse 7, “If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it’s stolen out of the man’s house, if the theft is found, he shall pay double.” So you receive or use for safekeeping money or stuff, articles, and it gets stolen, you’re still responsible. It’s on your property. Verse 8, “If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor’s goods. For any kind of trespass, whether it concerns an ox, a donkey, a sheep, or clothing, or any kind of lost thing, which another claims to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges, and whoever the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.”
Very clear proscriptions. “A man delivers to his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or an animal to keep and it dies, is hurt or is driven away, no one seeing it, then an oath to the Lord will be between them both that he has not put his hand to his neighbor’s goods,” in other words, that it was accidental, “and the owner of it shall accept that and he shall not make it good. But if in fact, it is stolen from him, he shall make restitution to the owner of it. And if it’s torn into pieces by a beast, then he shall bring it as evidence and he shall not make good what is torn. And if a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it becomes injured or dies, the owner of it, not being with it, he will surely make it good. If it’s owner was with it, he’ll not make it good. If it was hired, it came for its hire.”
Proverbs chapter 20. Proverbs 20. The context of this section is honesty, integrity, righteousness, verse 7. In verse 10, it says, “Diverse weights and diverse measures.” In other words, scales that are not accurate, measurements that have been altered, in other words, you’re not getting a full quart, you’re not getting a full pound of meat. We have whole inspectors that go around and inspect scales and weights and measures in the commercial world, to make sure that it’s accurate for our benefit. It says, “They are both alike, they’re an abomination to the Lord.” God hates somebody that’s going to cheat somebody out of a bushel of wheat or a pound of meat, a quart of milk.
Look at verse 14, interesting Proverb. You may have read this over this, not understood exactly what it may be talking about. “’It’s good for nothing,’ cries the buyer.” “It’s not worth $50. I’ll give you $15 for it. It’s good for nothing.” And then we get it, and as it says, “so when he’s gone away, he boasts.” “Hey, I got a good deal on this. I really took them to cleaners on this.” That’s cheating and stealing too, God is saying.
Again, negotiate a fair deal, wherever you may be, and in some places of the world, that’s expected, and even in bartering, in our own system, as we do that, on that market, and here. Look, what is your attitude? What is your attitude? As you’re going in, are you wanting to get every last drop out of that friend, that merchant, your neighbor? Is that your goal? Or is it to pay a fair price? Because you need that item, you want it for a particular reason, maybe aesthetic value. It may be something you need in your business that is going to help you then make more money. The old saying, “You get what you pay for.”
The seller also has responsibility. Verse 10 of this Proverb says that you better give your customer an accurate amount that you say, that if it’s 2 pounds, it better be 2 pounds. And actually, this is repeated again in verse 23. So again, it’s both sides of the counter that God is concerned that everybody be honest and not try to take from each other. You see how far-reaching this would be in society? How many things we would not need in our world today? If everybody was honest, you would not need the FBI. You not need a Brinks truck, the armored truck service. You wouldn’t need a locksmith. Somebody say the IRS? Well, if we had God’s government, we wouldn’t need the IRS, that’s for sure. There’s one other area we might not need to the degree we have, and those are accountants. Sorry, Mr. Shabi.
I have another article here. Well, you remember a couple of months ago, this big law firm, the Panamanian law firm that had been setting up accounts from people all over the world? And some reporters got into it, got the files and started spreading them around. The Prime Minister of Iceland had to resign. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was found out that he had not disclosed some inheritance money. And all across the world, people had gone to this Panamanian law firm to get them to set up offshore accounts so they could hide money. That’s done all the time. This article brings out, walk down Fifth Avenue in New York City, look up at the apartment buildings, they say, and you will see many, many buildings, apartments—the lights are out, nobody’s there. Reason? They’re owned by Russians or Chinese who have excess money. They park it there, in real estate in Manhattan, which is very expensive and a safe bet, but it’s money usually ill-gotten, and it’s filtered off. The article says it’s not just dishonest countries that do it. It’s the honest countries that do it as well.
This article tells us about the IRS and even American schemes to extract money from us. We all know that. Basically, the one comment they make in this article is “All governments devote primary attention to extracting resources from their subjects, not always in a manner consistent with the spirit of the law and due process.” And they mention certain counties, American counties, IRS, things that they do to either entrap people in their greed and then do not prosecute. So the government is guilty of it. And the other IRS codes that are incomprehensible and impossible to enforce, and it creates these offshore matters. And so the article is “A Crooked World Needs Panama.” I think this week, there was to be another dump of information regarding those who hold those, have those accounts and the moneys that are there and individuals and countries as well. Unfortunately, we all know the story of Bernie Madoff. That’s corruption and stealing at a very, very high level, but it comes down to our level, which we’re most responsible for and concerned about, and this is where you and I can do something about it, especially in our own life and should, as we look at what God teaches us about this matter.
There are many well-known examples in the Scripture that point to the perils and the bad fruit from stealing. Achan is one that comes to mind in Joshua chapter 7. I’m not going to turn there. Peter Eddington gave a very good sermon a few months back about “The Accursed Thing.” And he went through the story of story of Achan who, at the time of the invasion into the land by the Israelites under Joshua, when they attacked and destroyed Jericho, God said take nothing. Take nothing from that city. Destroy it all. Don’t take any loot. And Achan did. And it was not until he was found, in the next attack, on the next city, when the Israelites were repulsed, that they then did an investigation. Tribe by tribe, family by family, tent by tent, and they found loot in the tent of Achan, who had taken money from Jericho and stolen and defied God. People lost lives as a result of that, well-known example that is there.
Ahab is another example. King Ahab of Israel who coveted Naboth’s land, 1 Kings 20, and he connived to get it, connived to get it. A sad, sad story there of a person who wanted land and took what was his, and he stole it.
One example we should note and turn to, because it had a good ending, is the story of Jacob, the patriarch Jacob. In Genesis chapter 30, you remember the story of Jacob who stole the birthright from Esau by deception, and then because of the contention in the family, Jacob had to leave. And he went to his uncle Laban’s land and home. There he met somebody that was even more wily than him: Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying two of his daughters when he only wanted Rachel, and you know that story. Jacob really had to get his nose pushed into his own sin when he met somebody that was more corrupt than he, Uncle Laban. The story of Laban himself was an interesting study. But Jacob learned his lesson after a period of time.
Verse 25 tells us, “Finally, when Joseph was born to Rachel, Jacob said to Laban, ‘Let me go my way. I want to go back to my place and to my country. Give my wives and my children for whom I’ve served you. Let me go, for you know my service which I have done for you.’ Laban said to him, ‘Please stay. We got a good deal going here, if I found favor in your eyes, for I have learned by experience that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.’” Despite Jacob’s problems, as he turned around, Laban was blessed, the whole enterprise of Laban, Incorporated, prospered. And he said, “Name your wages, and I’ll give it.” Even Laban had come around. He didn’t want Jacob to go, and he probably liked having his grandkids around.
So Jacob said to him, “You know how I have served you, and how your livestock has been with me. For what you had before I came was little and it has increased to a great amount. The Lord has blessed you since my coming, and now, when shall I also provide for my own house?” But he goes on and he works out a deal, and again, the business takes off in this. But even Laban, as wily as he was, had to recognize, that, “I’ve learned by experience that God has blessed me for your sake.” As Jacob learned his lesson, and no doubt, had a lot of years to think about how he had stolen from his brother, and then had his life and his years stolen by this wily father-in-law, he had repented on that point, and he had learned thievery, stealing does not pay. Even Laban had to admit that, “God’s blessed me because of you.”
When we are honest, when we are faithful in the smallest of matters to our best of our ability, and go above and beyond and pay a little extra, maybe sometimes even to our hurt if that’s what we really need, or give a little bit more of our time on our work and we don’t report that—who are we working for? That’s the question. If we feel and know that we are working for God, then we can do those things in faith, knowing that God sees and God can bless the company, God can bless the endeavor, God can bless our lives. These are things we have to think very deeply about.
We all know the classic teaching about tithing back in the book of Malachi chapter 3. As God was indicting the people, the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem for many things, one of what He brings out is the fact that they had stolen from Him. Malachi 3:8 Malachi 3:8Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you say, Wherein have we robbed you? In tithes and offerings.
American King James Version×, “Will a man rob God? Yet you’ve robbed Me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you? What way?’ God replies, ‘In tithes and offerings, tithes and offerings. You’re cursed with a curse. You’ve robbed Me. Even this whole nation has robbed Me,” He’s saying. So it was that corruption that had started somewhere. Now, this was not a slack group of people who had gone back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple that God was talking to through the prophet. These were pious people who wanted to see the presence back in the Holy Land and Jerusalem rebuilt, and they went back and they were brave. They had to deal with a lot of adversity in doing so. It’s not an easy trip back. And then going back to a devastated land and having to pick up from scratch.
Think of the devastation of whatever period of war. The South got devastated during the Civil War. I grew up listening to stories about that. My mother never got over that. She didn’t live through that period, but she was close enough through her parents and grandparents that she heard first-hand stories. Sherman’s March through Georgia was a scorched earth policy. World War I, World War II, people going back to rebuild a shattered city or land, it’s hard.
It’s hard for the Jews. And somewhere along the line, they began with one act to not tithe, to hold back. And it spread. And it was those little things. It was among the 98% of the people that it began to creep in. They didn’t prosper. They had stopped building the temple, and there were a lot of problems. The prophet Haggai talks about it. It’s recorded in Ezra and here in Malachi. But God gets to the heart of it here and says, “You’ve robbed Me and you’re cursed with a curse, even this whole nation.”
Verse 10, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. Try me now in this.” God always has a solution. God always gives us a chance to repent. To examine our books, to examine our ways, to think through, and as we read the Law and the teaching, just a little bit of what we’ve done here tonight, all of us have a chance to say, “Well, maybe I haven’t been as faithful as I should be, maybe I’ve had this attitude in my job, maybe in some other part of my life, and you’re right. I don’t have as much give in my heart as get.” God always gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean when we confess to Him and turn around and repent and change.
He says, “Bring the tithes into the storehouses that there may be food in My house. Test me, try me on this, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. I’ll rebuke the devourer for your sakes, they will not destroy the fruit of your ground.” They’re having problems even growing things. “’Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the Lord of Hosts. ‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the Lord of Hosts.”
But for you and I, there’s a chance to turn around. This commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” gives us each an opportunity to really examine our perspective on a lot of the other commandments, as I showed you earlier—coveting, honoring God, honoring our Father, bearing false witness—and examine just what are our motives, and to look at even our financial lives, our financial responsibilities before God to see what we will do. If we have not been as diligent, then we can change. And to the degree we do will indicate to us the degree of our faith and our belief in God, and that He is God, and that He is involved in even these matters and these details of our lives.
So think about ourselves and how deep this gets. Money is very near and dear. That’s why in so many of the parables, Jesus Christ used money, talents, pounds to talk about spiritual matters, the deepest of spiritual matters. He put them in money terms, because money is very, very close to us. I’ve always said, I know I’ve made this statement, that if I could see your checking account ledger or whatever you have online and you could see mine, you would learn a lot about me and I’d learn about you, which is what I don’t want you to do and you don’t want me to do about you. [laughs] Because where we spend our money, where our money is, there’s our heart. Where is your heart? Where is my heart? I don’t know if your toes are black and blue right now, but it is indeed something for us all to think about. How honest are we?
The good news is that no matter what we discern and know about ourselves, again, God gives us the ability to change. Let’s go back and read again, Ephesians chapter 4. With what we’ve said tonight, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface on it, let us all think about it. And if we find we’ve come up short, look, confess to God, repent, draw a line across it, and move on and change. Look at what Paul said. “Let him who stole steal no longer. Let him who stole steal no longer,” and keep the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”