[bibletalk] Guilty of Theft

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From: "Steve Preston" <prstn496@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 08:11:05 -0500
Guilty of Theft

          What percentage of the population do you suppose has committed a 
crime, small or large, sometime in their life? As a child I attempted to 
walk out of a store with a candy bar taken from an open bag on the shelf. My 
mother found out and not only made me return to the store but also confront 
the store manager and tell him what I did. Stealing is a crime. Luckily the 
store manager was forgiving and just made my mother pay for what I had 
taken. More than likely there are others out there that performed such acts 
and also got into as much trouble as I did. There are some that are stealing 
even today. I dare say that some thieves are even a part of the church that 
Christ died for. They steal not from a store, or even from neighbors. They 
steal from the head of their family. They steal from God. "Will a man rob 
God? yet ye rob me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and 
offerings" (Mal 3:8). In the OT is was very easy to tell that a person wasn't 
giving as they should. The law commanded that a person give a tenth of all. 
Plus there were other offerings and sacrifices that eventually could total 
around thirty percent of a persons "income". Under the NT however our 
command is to give "according as he hath purposed in his heart: not 
grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). 
Likewise there is also the example in 1 Cor. 16:2 for each to "lay by him in 
store, as God hath prospered him." We steal from God when we don't plan our 
giving. We steal from God when we give from a feeling of obligation. We 
steal from God when the amount of our contribution is not in line with the 
amount of our income.

          All that we have belongs to God. He is just letting us use the 
material things until such time as we don't need them any more. When we 
refuse to give as we should, our crime is theft from God. Giving of our 
means should be a joyful opportunity to do well. Don't look upon the 
monetary contribution you make as less money to spend on something else. 
Look upon it as a way to further the kingdom of our Lord. In large amounts 
and small, it takes money to preach the word to the lost. Don't be guilty of 
theft from God. Give as much as you can. Lay up for yourselves treasure in 
heaven and you will have treasure on earth.

In Christ, Steve Preston

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