Would you steal from God?

  By Bob Brubaker  |  

“How could he do it? Didn’t he think about the consequences? I can’t believe we never caught him.”  Those were words from an elder of a church where the treasurer had embezzled over a hundred thousand dollars over a period of several years but was finally caught.  “Didn’t he realize he was robbing from God?” said my friend as he explained the details that were uncovered.

As appalled as we are when we think of someone robbing from the church, thinking they are going to get away with it, maybe we should rethink the robbery concept.  Of course, if the treasurer of the church is pilfering funds, we will be quick to point out his guilt because he has stolen from the church, and he has stolen from God. But wait, the Bible is clear about our stealing from God when we withhold what we should be giving.

Malachi 3:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Which is worse?  Taking from the church or withholding from giving what we should?  Both are considered stealing from God.

How about our undivided, all out dedicated service to God? Jesus made it clear that the first and greatest commandment was a complete sell out to God, right?

Mark 12:28–31 (ESV) — 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus also made it clear that to be his follower, you must consider His Lordship or sovereign control over everything in life which in its simplest terms is what it means to call Him Lord.

Romans 10:8–10 (ESV) — 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Luke 14:25–27 (ESV) — 25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:33 (ESV) — 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and are holding back anything or allowing anything to get between you and serving Him, then you are stealing from Him.

So how is your worship?  Do you prepare for worship and anticipate worship, or are you offering God leftovers from staying up late the night before or by coming in half-heartedly or late into the worship service?  It’s amazing how many people think they are giving God their worship when they come late and leave immediately after the service. If you aren’t giving God worship due to Him, then you are stealing from Him.

John 4:23 (ESV) — 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Psalm 103:1–2 (ESV) — 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

How is your service?  It’s sad that the church is filled with so many spectators who never think of serving when the Bible is full of admonitions to serve one another.  A person who does not lift a finger to serve in the church is really stealing from God.

Romans 12:9–11 (ESV) — 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Galatians 5:13 (ESV) — 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Let’s talk about your time. God gives you 168 hours each week then tells us to make the most of the time applying wisdom that He will give us.  But isn’t it amazing how people do not have time for God in the daily reading of His word, prayer, corporate prayer and Bible study, etc. when it’s clear that to waste time or misuse the time He gives us is really stealing from Him?

Ephesians 5:15–17 (ESV) — 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

A real test of our love and loyalty to Christ is how we treat His church. Do we give our best in all that we do or are we slothful in the jobs we undertake, do we give enough effort to just get by or are we giving our best for Him. Anything less than our best is stealing from Him.

Colossians 3:17 (ESV) — 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I think we all need to back up and look at the Christian embezzlement issue of holding back from God which is stealing from God. It’s empowering how God calls us to repent of our ways in promising to bless us for giving Him what is due Him to begin with.  Look again at Malachi 3 and how God points out the mistake; but in calling for repentance He points out the blessing.

Malachi 3:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. 9 You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

That is just how God is. He promises great blessings if we will just stop the embezzlement and give Him His due in tithes and offerings, in an all-out dedicated life, in worship, service, and in always doing our best. But as you look again at the promise in Malachi you will have to conclude that when we steal from God we are actually robbing from our selves because we are robbing from the church which means we are robbing others and since God doesn’t take kindly to our mistreating His church, then He withholds from us and we are losers indeed.  May we consider our ways as the prophet Haggai prophesied and stop robbing God because it is causing us to miss out on the best in life.

Haggai 1:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. 6 You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

Is it worth it – stealing from God?  May God help us all to take a serious look at our lives and the little ways we may be stealing from Him.  May God help us to repent and look forward to God’s promised blessings.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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