“WHO IS THE THIEF?”

“BUT THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME LIKE A THIEF. THE HEAVENS WILL DISAPPEAR WITH A ROAR; THE ELEMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED BY FIRE, AND THE EARTH AND EVERYTHING DONE IN IT WILL BE LAID BARE. 2 PETER 3:10 NIV

READ: 2 PETER 3:8-17

WHILE MAKING A PURCHASE OF STEEL PIPE FROM A COMPANY’S STORAGE YARD, I OVERHEARD THE OWNER TELL ONE OF HIS EMPLOYEES TO ‘KEEP AN EYE’ ON A CERTAIN CUSTOMER. THE OWNER HAD WATCHED THE MAN PUTTING SOME SMALL ITEMS INTO HIS TRUCK. LATER, THE MAN WENT TO PAY FOR ITEMS THAT HAD BEEN LOADED ONTO HIS TRAILER. THE OWNER ASKED; “WHAT ABOUT THE THINGS IN YOUR TRUCK?” THE MAN MUMBLED THAT HE HAD ‘FORGOTTEN’ ABOUT THE ITEMS.

THE OWNER OF THE BUSINESS TOLD ME HE LOSES 3% OF HIS INVENTORY TO THIS TYPE OF THEFT. HE LOSES THREE DOLLARS OF EVERY ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS HE SELLS. WITH THIN PROFIT MARGINS IN A SMALL BUSINESS THESE LOSSES HURT HIS ABILITY TO KEEP HIS BUSINESS OPEN AND TO MAKE ENOUGH PROFIT TO PROVIDE FOR HIS FAMILY. WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO GIVE THREE DOLLARS OF EVERY HUNDRED DOLLARS OF YOUR INCOME TO AN UNDESERVING THIEF?

AS WE LOOK AT OUR SOCIETY, RETAIL STORES HAVE ATTACHED SECURITY TAGS AND LABELS TO ALMOST ALL TYPES OF PRODUCTS. THEIR EXIT DOORS ARE WIRED TO SOUND AN ALARM IF THE CASHIER DOES NOT REMOVE OR INACTIVATE THE TAGS. STEALING HAS REACHED AN EPIDEMIC LEVEL.

OUR SOCIETY IS MORE AWARE OF THE ONGOING PROBLEM. TOO MANY OF OUR CITIZENS FEEL WHATEVER THEY WANT IS THERE FOR THE TAKING. IT MIGHT BE YOUR CAR, YOUR MONEY, INEXPENSIVE ITEMS…EVEN YOUR IDENTITY. WHATEVER THE ITEM IS, IT DOES NOT BOTHER THE THIEF IT BELONGS TO SOMEONE ELSE.

SCRIPTURES TELLS US THIS IS NOTHING NEW. IT MAY BE GROWING, BUT THIEVES HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE TIME BEGAN. EVE AND ADAM TOOK FRUIT FROM THE TREE THAT WAS NOT THEIRS. CAIN TOOK HIS BROTHER’S LIFE. JACOB TOOK THE BIRTHRIGHT OF HIS BROTHER. PAUL, BEFORE BEING SAVED BY GRACE, STOLE FROM THE PEOPLE HE COLLECTED TAXES FROM. THROUGHOUT OUR BIBLE, WE ARE TAUGHT THESE LESSONS. CLEARLY, WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE IN RIGHT AND WRONG. WE SHOULD PROTECT WHAT IS OURS AND RESPECT ALL THAT BELONG TO OTHERS. IT IS SO SIMPLE: “THOU SHALL NOT STEAL.”

THERE IS A DIFFERENT THIEF AS WELL. IT MAY BE ANOTHER PERSON OR IT MAY BE OURSELVES. GOD HAS GIVEN US RIGHTS AS BELIEVERS. WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE RIGHT TO WORSHIP OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. PROTECT THAT RIGHT. DO NOT LET ANOTHER PERSON TAKE THAT RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT GIVE THAT RIGHT TO WORSHIP GOD AWAY BY NOT ATTENDING CHURCH AND BIBLE STUDIES. DON’T STEAL FROM YOURSELF. DON’T BE A THIEF OF YOUR OWN TIME TO WORSHIP YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER AS HE LAID OUT IN THE SCRIPTURES. ENJOY IT OR LOSE IT…..

TODAY’S PRAYER: “HEAVENLY FATHER, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU HAVE GIVEN TO ME. I AM SOMETIMES TOO AWARE OF THE MATERIAL THINGS I HAVE AND NOT ALWAYS OBEDIENT IN TAKING CARE OF THE SPIRITUAL THINGS YOU HAVE HONORED ME WITH. HELP ME BE MORE AWARE AND PROTECTIVE OF YOUR LOVE AND OF MY RIGHT TO WORSHIP YOU AS YOU HAVE COMMANDED. AMEN.”