Weekly Devotion – Exodus 20:15

By Mike Caton

Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”

The thing that keeps jumping out at me about all of these Ten Commandments is how simple they are. Honestly, a child can understand them. If something is not yours, don’t take it, leave it alone. And again in the Hebrew, this verse is just one word, ganab. It carries the idea of not just taking physical things, but of not being deceptive as well. This word is translated in other passages as kidnap and deceive.

We too often think of stealing as just things; money, cars, TV, phones, whatever. But there are folks who also steal ideas from others and claim they are their own. Some folks steal time, wasting it on the job, claiming they are working while goofing off, leading people on to get something for nothing. This list can go on and on. Some folks steal other’s love, again pretending to love them for a selfish reason. Others steal self-esteem, through constant criticism or condemnation. How about the ones who steal other’s spotlight, taking the focus off of someone’s positive action and turning it back to themselves. As we think about it, there are many things we can take from others, by force or manipulation. Let’s just leave this here; if it is not yours, leave it alone. Whatever it is.

The other side of this is contentment. Be satisfied with what the Lord has given to you.

Father, help me leave others’ stuff alone. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works as a full time AEMT with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.

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