Ex 20:15--You shall not steal.

To steal means to take something by stealth or deception. Implicit in stealing is that the thief considers his own needs more important that the rights of the person from whom he steals.

Sometimes young people steal things just for the excitement, to experience the adrenaline rush. I remember going in the night with some of my friends to take watermelons from L.W. Gonce’s cotton patch. His shotgun sure sounded loud.

While I was at Auburn University, some of us who were on the track team decided to raid the research orchard to get some peaches. We went in the dark. Just as we were picking some peaches, one of the boys said "I just saw that sign move."

Suddenly the campus police car started up and began to pursue us down the rows of the peach trees. When the car would get close, I would swerve over behind another row of trees. We all scattered and made our way back to the dorm. Most of the peaches I had picked were green.

One of the boys went out through the livestock research pasture, and every time a cow or sheep would move, he would think it was the police. He almost ran himself into the ground.

Later we learned that the authorities were very serious about protecting the peaches because of research. One student caught stealing peaches form the research orchard was expelled from school .

God commanded against stealing because it damages society. Imagine a world in which the strong prey on the weak, and take things for their own use without regard to the rights of others, and you will understand the need to have laws against theft. Even secular humanists agree that stealing is not good. I am not sure why they think that way, since stealing comes natural to animals. I guess they do not like to have things stolen from them, since what they have in this life is what they trust.

Stealing takes its place alongside murder and adultery as deadly sins, evidence of ungodliness, Jer 7:9--Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known.

But if we claim to belong to Jesus, we are called to a higher plane, Eph 4:28--He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.

In Jesus, selfishness is replaced with sharing. When we desire to share what we have with others, we are no longer so interested in protecting what we have. If we are planning to give away things of value, then protecting our property loses its power to consume us.

Jesus taught that we should store up treasures in heaven, where the thief cannot steal, Matt 6:19-21--Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Paul, by the Holy Spirit, taught the solution to stealing, Rom 13:8-10--Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.