“Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.”

Ephesians 4:28

We either are or we’re not; there can be no halfway ground here.


In every good organization there are certain “core values” that are inviolable, i.e., sacred, non-negotiable, not to be violated or broken, etc. And, without a doubt, in this day-and-age of relativism and the loss of absolutes. . .where “I’m my own authority” and everyone does “what is right in his own sight” (Is. 5:21). . .today’s Manna is a stark reminder of the importance of integrity, especially in the life of a professing follower of Jesus Christ.

Paul’s admonition of “Let him that stole steal no more” indicates that such had taken place or was still occurring among the members in the church at Ephesus. Just as John the Baptist told the tax collectors to “exact no more than that which is appointed you” (Lk. 3:12-13)—which meant for them to not stick it to their fellow citizens because they could get by with it because of tactic, Roman consent—so should we also always be above-board in our dealings with others.

Yet, how many there are to resort to reasoning rather than Christ’s righteousness in this area.

They cheat on the job by taking office supplies home with them for their own use. Or, they spend time surfing the web while at work instead of doing their job. Or, they look for loopholes on their income tax so they can “get what’s theirs” and citing government oppression as the basis for their dishonesty.

But, dear Pilgrim, the Heavenly Father is displeased with such underhanded ways.

It tramples underfoot the Blood of Christ and “crucifies Him afresh by putting Him to an open shame (or bringing Him/His Name into contempt” (Heb. 6:6).

Have we forgotten there’ll be no “thieves, covetous persons, drunkards, revilers or extortioners in Heaven” (I Cor. 6:11)? That doesn’t mean there won’t be those there who used to live that way, but were redeemed by Christ through faith and repentance; it simply means there won’t be any there who were engaged in that lifestyle without any remorse or conviction at the time of their death.

True repentance always results in “fruits of repentance” (Mt. 3:8; Acts 26:20). That’s why Paul called on his readers (and us) to demonstrate a change of heart and mind by “ceasing from stealing and do an honest day’s labor for an honest day’s pay.” That way we’ll always have a clear conscience and also be able to “give to him that is in need.”

Let us also remember this truth carries over into our personal lives in the area of tithes and offerings. Malachi’s strong words to his generation on “robbing God” (Mal. 3:8) are still applicable today, even though we live under Grace. The “tithe (10%) is still the Lord’s” (Lev. 27:30), which means we really haven’t given until we go beyond that. Let all of our giving be done “generously, willingly and cheerfully—for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Cor. 9:7). So be honest in all you say and do. The Father will be pleased and others will be blessed.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated May 28, 2010

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