Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. Ephesians 4:28

A couple of weeks ago, a thief “visited” a part of our facilities. He/she used a tool to gain access in the dark, and this person or persons produced an inconvenient mess. While we delight in having visitors, this is not the kind of visit we have in mind.

However, this type of visit teaches us some valuable lessons of the proper kind. Be careful to learn the lessons that encourage God’s purposes, not our anger and resentment.

First, no one needs awareness, repentance, forgiveness, and spirituality more than does this person or persons. Hopefully, there are matters that you know and understand that he/she does not know or understand. May the knowledge and understanding of the Christian be transferred, not the damage/hurt of the thief/thieves.

Second, one who would steal does not think or see as does the person in Christ. It was interesting to listen to the comments of Christians. It was quite obvious that Christians do not have the perspective of those who would be thieves. Those in Christ simply do not think like those not in Christ. One of the blessings/benefits of being in Christ is the transformation that leaves the old way of thinking behind.

Third, those in Christ simply do not attach the significance to things (or to self) as do those out of Christ. In Christ, one learns and understands that a love of things and selfishness results in consequences that extract terrible prices. The slavery of materialism and selfishness is a horrible form of slavery that focuses only on the temporary.

Fourth, Christianity constantly asks you, “Who do you genuinely wish to be as a person?” May none of us ever reduce “who we are” to “what we possess.” What is valuable at the moment may later become our curse. Do not let what you have be your curse. The person who steals loses more than he or she takes. The one who “takes” from others (by deception, force, or being sneaky) loses self. What are you worth to you?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 31 January 2010

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