“You shall not steal.”
Command number eight is the prohibition against stealing.
It is a straightforward command. Do not steal. But steal what? And from whom?
There are, of course, the obvious answers — others’ belongings or resources — but this can be extended.
Am I working diligently? If the answer is “No.” then I am stealing from my employer that which is rightfully theirs. My employer pays me for my skills and abilities used in their service. If I am not using my skills and abilities to benefit my employer during the time that the they have purchased — i.e. when I am on the clock — then I am stealing what they have paid for and rightfully own.
Am I fully present when I am with friends and family? This falls more into the bin of keeping my commitments, but time is the one resource we none of us can get more of and to be anything less than fully present when using the time of my friends and family is, in my mind, a form of theft. I am stealing their time. If I am busy staring at my cell phone while my friend is talking to me, then I am wasting their time; stealing the one resource of which they, like me, have a finite amount.
It occurs to me that idolatry and having other gods beside God is a form of theft. I steal what is rightfully His — my worship, my time, my energy, my attention, and so on — by giving it to another.
This morning, let me take inventory and see if I am stealing. I may not be taking anyone’s money or physical property, but I may be stealing their time or their due.
God, please forgive me for the times I have stolen from You. I know I have sometimes withheld Your due, and that is wrong. Please make me mindful of the things that belong to others and create in me a heart that wants to give each what is rightfully their own.