Protect Your Valuables
Only God can teach me the true value of people
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.” Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” LUKE 19:1-10 NLT
The 8th commandment teaches me to put people over things
You must not steal. EXODUS 20:15 NLT
Stealing robs others of:
A sense of security
Trust in people
Faith in God
Stealing robs me of:
The joy of earning something for myself
Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. PROVERBS 20:17 NLT
If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. PROVERBS 29:24 NLT
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. PROVERBS 13:4 NLT
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. COLOSSIANS 3:23-24 NLT
A reason for living
Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life. PSALM 62:10 NLT
Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit. PROVERBS 12:12 NLT
Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer. PROVERBS 28:24 NLT
Opportunities to be generous
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. EPHESIANS 4:28 NLT
The blessings of God
‘Cursed is anyone who steals property from a neighbor by moving a boundary marker.’ And all the people will reply, ‘Amen.’ DEUTERONOMY 27:27 NLT
You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them. AMOS 5:11 NLT
Community Group Discussion Guide
- What was the first thing you remember stealing as a kid? What eventually happened and how did it make you feel?
- No one like being stolen from, so what do you think is the appeal of stealing?
- Read Exodus 20:15. Aside from the obvious answer of the thing itself, what else gets taken when something gets stolen?
- Read Proverbs 28:24. Are there certain situations or items that lead you to think stealing isn’t always wrong?
- Read Psalm 62:10. When have you been tempted to place a higher value on “things” rather than people?
- What are some of the things you are currently stealing (i.e. time, attention, affirmation)? Where is that coming from and how can we help?
- Read Ephesians 4:28. How can hard work and generosity be an antidote for stealing?
Personal Reflection Guide
Take a few moments and give them to God. Breathe in and out and release the day’s events. Think back to a time when you may have stolen – this might be easy for you if you have actually taken someone’s possessions away from them; but consider also occasions when you might have stolen something intangible away from someone. Confess that between you and God. Now read slowly through Colossians 3:23-24. Sit in that space for a few moments, envisioning everything you own, do, spend, give and take, as belonging to God. What do you give him? What do you take from him? Take the time this week to view your life through this lens, and ask God to give you a spirit of generosity and gratitude and the conviction to give back to God what belongs to him.