Exodus 20:15 “You shall not steal.”

Short and sweet and to the point. This is known as the only open-ended commandment. Honor your parents, is specific. Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy, is also specific. Its open-endedness might be to the point as well. DO NOT STEAL. PERIOD.

Many of us are like; “well, I WOULD NEVER!” Hold on there sunshine ... never is a LONG time!

Have you ever gotten two things out of a vending machine and thought my lucky day!? Well, the company that stocks the machine does not consider that your lucky day. They consider that stealing the second item given to you by mistake.

Have you ever gotten out to the parking lot and realized there was a case of water, pop, etc., on the bottom rack that you did not put up for the person to scan? Were you in a hurry and thought that is okay the markup is incredible anyway? That is stealing! Unless you trot back in and pay for the item(s), then you stole.

Have you ever borrowed money from a friend, family member, etc., knowing full well you were not going to repay them? Then you planned to steal from them. Borrowing is only when we intend to pay back. If you decided midstream that they have enough anyway or they really owe you because of this or that it is still stealing because you are not living up to original intent.

There are examples of what happens when you take something and the consequences are dire. A couple sells their home and claims that they gave all the money they received to God. They gave some but not all. The issue was the claim made and them stealing if they partook from the funds. They publicly declared their goodness of giving. Ananias and Sapphira both die upon being questioned separately.

That story influenced me as a child. I am a horrible liar. My kids like this, because they can ask me about a surprise and chances are I will not be able to hide the truth. This story also influenced me because they were taking from God. I want to give to the one who gives freely. I want to make sure others have and not take what others work hard to provide.

We must live to a higher standard because we are called by God to love ... and love does not hurt ... which means it does not take!

Do. Not. Steal.

Pretty simple.

The Rev. Tracey Zimmerman is associate pastor at Angola United Methodist Church.

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