Saturday, January 23, 2010


“You shall not steal.”  (Ex. 20:15)

                Human relationships all involve recognition of the sanctity of what belongs to another.  Life is given by God and thus there is sanctity in human life.  The covenant of marriage was given by God to the first man and woman and thus sanctity of marriage is essential.  And what any person has is a result of what God has given them.  Thus there is sanctity of property.  Much is written in Leviticus about the sanctity of property and how God deals with it, but suffice it to say, what we have is important to us.

                Margaret and I have learned that lesson many times down through the years of our lives.  We have had property stolen on more than one occasion and we have had property destroyed by others, by accident, and by carelessness.  And each time our property is taken from us, we feel a pain of deep loss.  This past December we learned this lesson anew.  First our pickup was destroyed when we hit a moose while traveling to see our children.  Only an hour away from our destination and all of a sudden, I was faced with taking on more debt, more inconvenience, and I was forced to give up my property.  Then when I returned home two weeks later, our house had been broken into, property stolen, and a feeling of security was robbed from us.  We lost antiques, heirlooms, and peace of mind – all because someone saw no value in keeping the seventh command.

                Now let me be the first to say that sometimes Christians cling too tightly to their possessions – I among them.  But having said that, let me also state that God has made us material humans.  We need the material to survive.  We need food, shelter, air, and water.  But we also need other possessions as well.  The extent we need them may be up for debate, but we do indeed have material needs.  And from the beginning, humanity has seen their possessions as blessings from God and when those possessions are taken from us, it has the subconscious effect of having the blessings removed.

                Because in materialistic societies we have begun substituting our possessions for our God, and indeed have in many cases developed a material worship culture – even in Christian circles – we have begun to develop anti-materialistic theologies.  And rightly so.  But let us not forget that God saw that respect for the sanctity of our property was important enough to put in the commandments.  He knew that where property of others was not respected, trouble would brew and the culture would be decimated.  God knew that instinctively humans would hold their possessions so dear that when those possessions were not respected that human relationships would be destroyed.

                As a personal note, I do hold too tightly to some of my possessions.  But that is between God and me.  It is not the right or prerogative of anyone else to remove from me what I don’t freely release.  And when someone does take what is mine all kinds of ill feelings well up inside of me, which in turn damages my relationship with God.  That is the ultimate damage that can be inflicted upon another.

Kingdom Road Ministries
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Victor, ID 83455

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