13 September, 2006

Stealing From God

I've had this little nugget stuck away in my files for several years. I don't really even know where it came from anymore, but I thought it was worth sharing.

Proverbs 6:30-31
"Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving, Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house."

A man watched an old woman as she made her way through the store. As she stood in front of the bread rack, she carefully looked around her, then, confident that she was not being watched, she slipped a loaf under the cover of her shawl into a shopping bag. The man rushed to the counter to the the store owner what he had just witnessed. The grocer said to the man, "I know. She has done it for years. But she never takes much; only enough to feed herself and her cat. Maybe I shouldn't let her get away with it, but it's the least I can do. She's friendly and kind, and she does nice things for the poeple in the neighborhood whenever she can. I would hope someone would do it for me if I were in her place. What does it hurt?"

We know that stealing is never right, but sometimes it just makes more sense, and we can somewhat understand when the motive is not pure greed.
But you know, sometimes people act just like this woman in their spiritual lives. They take only what they need, and they don't pay God anything for what they get. There are some who find themselves so starved spiritually that they take and take and take... but give little or nothing back. I believe God understands that, and He knows that by feeding those that are starving, they are strengthened in a way that will hopefully enable that one to give to others later on. It's when we come to a place where we begin giving what has been given to us that we really become pleasing to God. The problem is, some continue in the taking cycle and never growing into the cycle of giving. That would mean moving out of their own comfort zone. We need to develop that mindset that says, "We are blessed to be a blessing," and realize that when we receive, we in turn are supposed to give. That is the way God's economy works.

1 comment:

ruthrap said...

in the spiritual sense, we are all guilty of stealing from God, it's our sinful, selfish nature. The good news is that when we allow Him into our hearts, we quit wanting to steal from Him and want to give everything back we've ever stolen and add more to it!
His grace may allow us to steal, but it also tugs at our conscience, so that we are aware of what we do and seek to make it right. The grocer understood mercy and grace, that's why he let the old woman have the bread.