March 8, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 17



Monte Holland

This is the seventeenth in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 16 

Today’s photographs feature a stained glass window at Portsmouth United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. To view click on:


The Eighth Commandment:  15Do not steal. Exodus 20:15

Trust is a key element of all relationships. Although trust involves many issues, this commandment—which forbids us to taking another person’s possessions without permission—speaks to having a security of our material goods. We know that God owns everything and we hold our “possessions” as stewards of God’s material goods. Stealing material goods interferes with the steward’s  responsibility to care for them for God, and is a major issue in society, in a broad sense.

This commandment, more than the others, gets down to very basic and difficult issues that usually involve greed. At least that is the way it happens for me. We want the “best deal.” “Finders keepers, losers weepers!” “They will never miss it.” “I deserve it.” These are a few of the thoughts we may have. And they oppose the spirit of the Eighth Commandment.

At this time of year adults face this matter head-on. They file their income tax returns. They convince themselves that “Uncle Sam” doesn’t deserve their taxes and do their best to take shaky deductions that may not be legal. They may be stealing from the government.

In our day to day activities, we borrow a neighbor’s shovel and “forget” to return it. Is this stealing? Look at it this way—it may be hindering our neighbor in his work for God, in being a good steward. (Any action that we take that deprives someone else of materials needed to be a good caretaker for God is stealing and a violation of the Eighth Commandment.)

As you can see, stealing in various ways is a matter that we can hardly avoid unless we are always on our guard.

The Eighth Commandment: DO NOT STEAL.


Exercise 1: You check out at the video store and the bill is $6.45. You give the clerk a $10 bill. She gives you $4.55 in change, along with the receipt that has calculated the change to be $3.55. When you get to your car, you read the receipt and see that an error has been made. What do (more…)

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