Exodus 20:15 You shall not steal.
We can also commit the crime of theft against God. Firstly we can steal time from God. Sometimes people who say they are Christians spend more time on their hobbies and pleasures than they do in the matter of discipleship and worship. All of us are guilty of theft when we steal opportunities God has given us to learn and grow – to do as we please.
We can rob God of our money, for example when we withhold our giving, which should be as generous as possible. The Bible’s view is that all things in our possession were given to us by God for us to use as stewards. We are to use them wisely in the interests of the Kingdom but when we withhold these things it is regarded as robbery. ‘Will a man rob God?’ it says in Malachi 3:8. Then the people say, ‘In what way have we robbed you?’ ‘In tithes and offerings’. This can be a real struggle for many but we should seriously consider it in the light of the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 8:1-16.
A Christian’s life is not always easy. To stop sinning is hard; to break unhealthy friendships is difficult; to engage in consistent prayer is hard; to keep Sunday special, especially if you have unsympathetic family members, is difficult. To understand certain Bible doctrines may be a struggle and to decide where and how to be involved in the Lord’s work can involve major decisions. But one of the hardest things of all is to start giving regularly to the work of the Gospel.
There are, however, many people who will testify to the blessing of God and the provision that came into their lives when they took Him at His word and began to tithe. Giving is an indication of our devotion to God and, secondly, God has ordained that the lost people in this world will be saved through human agencies which will be financed by His people.
Here are some principles to think through as we reflect on this command and come to terms with its many implications.
1. Be content with the things He has given you. Maybe you have not reached your ideals or fulfilled all your ambitions, but thank God for what you have – your family and your home.
We must also be willing to improve ourselves. While we should be content, that doesn’t mean to say that if God’s providence provides us with an opportunity to improve ourselves, we should not take it. If you have a chance to improve your situation, take that opportunity and do not live with a sense of terrible frustration, aggression and discontent.
2. We must be generous. In 2 Corinthians 8 Paul speaks about generosity, even among poor people, and says that God will supply them in their poverty with enough so that they can give to other people. May God make us a generous people in our hearts. Even if we have nothing to give at the moment, may it be our purpose and intension to give as soon as it is possible for us to do so.
3. In all things obey God. The more you sit under God’s word the more you will understand His law. The more you obey Him, the more sensitive your conscience becomes. The more you walk in the light, the more you hate the darkness. The closer you are to the Lord Jesus Christ, the more dreadful it is to be far away from Him. When you live close to Him, you have protection; you are given insight and the ability to discern.
Remember that when you leave this world you take nothing with you except your deeds. Let us live with a spirit of generosity and of spontaneity in all that we do. The only way we can do this is to obey God, to love Him, and to walk in His light.
The starting point is to get to know the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not know Him, you can only become frustrated in your attempts to do what is right. But when you come to know the Lord Jesus as your personal Saviour, you are part of the family of God and a new principle is put into your heart so that you are free, not only to love but to obey His law. In that way you will find contentment, liberty and genuine happiness.
Meditation: Please read Proverbs 10:22