Stealing From God
Stealing from God. That is a pretty serious accusation, don’t you think? Some people would steal from an unknowing, ‘average’ person if they could get away with it. Some would even steal from a person who had certain power, like a police officer, judge, or politician. But most people would not dare to steal from the President. Not because of moral reasons, but because the President has very real and evident power (such as the secret service) to contend with. So even beyond the moral reasons which should influence us alone, why do so many of us steal from God? Uh-oh, busted. I’m certainly guilty of this, and you probably are too.
Just how can a person steal from God? What are we doing that’s theft? We’re not actually taking something from Him, are we? Yes and no. God’s power is not limited to the physical realm, so we can’t really steal anything from Him, in the normal aspect (like stealing a car). But think outside the box – did you enter this world with anything? Nope. Well, your parents gave it all to you then- no, not really. Think back…all the way back to when Adam and Eve are first created. (Yes, that did happen, we did not come from amoebas – and there is plenty of evidence; in fact, overwhelming evidence to prove the Bible and its account of creation. If you want to debate or question, go ahead and shoot us an email or letter or something so we can have a [civil] debate.) Did Adam and Eve have anything when they were created? Nothing that God didn’t give them.
Everything we have is God’s. Okay, where does the stealing part come in? Well, the two most common areas are money and time. If you don’t tithe a portion of your income (the Bible says 10%, and I don’t want to be unBiblical, I don’t know about you) to your church for use in their ministry, you’re stealing from God. Most people have heard the verse saying, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” – that’s Luke 20:25. Caesar’s (the government’s) would be taxes. Pay them. But beyond that, where did you get the money from? Your job, I know. Who gave you breath this morning so you could do your job? Yea, that’s right. So money is still God’s. But this post is not going to hang on the money portion – we’re going to focus on the time part.
God gives us our life – there’s nothing we can do to extend our life any longer than God gives us. You can fight aging all you want, and end up choking on a piece of broccoli. Not trying to be morbid, but I’m just saying God is the only one with any control there. Let’s say you are hired by a company, and have a company credit card for business related trips. Using that credit card outside of work hours to buy your groceries would obviously be stealing. Same company – but you have internet access on your computer, to be used for research purposes. Getting on the internet to play Farmville or check your facebook or even check this blog would be stealing from the company too, as “time is money”. Back to life in general, we’re given a certain amount of time in our life, and we have a purpose while we are here. Logically, we should be productive with that time, and use it wisely. Our immediate purpose, here in the 21st century, is to spread the gospel of Jesus. We can do and should do that in any occupation or institute. However, our long-term purpose, as human beings, is to relate to and glorify our Creator. As Jesus was praying before His arrest and saw the disciples making poor use of the little time at hand, He asked, “could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41) Do we spend time with God as we were created to do? I know there’s a lot to do in any given day. I’m not saying that is trivial at all. As far as priorities though – is God more important than everything else in life? Yes. Why do we never give Him any real time? Well, the reason is not important right now. What’s important is changing the result.
Spend some real time with God on a daily basis. I don’t mean praying for 2 minutes every hour or so – the scriptures do tell us to pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17) but this does not constitute real time with God. You wouldn’t just talk to your husband or wife for 2 minutes every hour and expect to be close to one another, would you? It takes real conversations to form and feed a relationship. I would recommend making a certain time every day as your prayer time – if it’s scheduled, you’re much more likely to do it. No matter how busy you are, you most likely have time for even 30 minutes (although I recommend 1 hour each day, working up to that amount if you need to) of prayer. If you can’t even find 30 minutes in your day, not being mean but you need serious schedule help – you might have to remove some bills, downsize on things, etc. if your long job hours are because of financial trouble. If it’s because of social activity, well, who’s more important? Anyways, examine your day. My recommendation is that you make your prayer time in the morning, as it helps you get on track for the day (see our post In the Morning for more on why). You might have to wake up earlier in order to fit it in, but it’s very much worth it. If you absolutely can’t, sometime in the evening might be good. According to the A.C. Nielson Co. (www.nielson.com), the average American spends over 4 hours in front of the TV every day. I’m sure at least half-an-hour can squeeze in there somewhere, right?
As far as how to spend an hour or even half-an-hour praying, that might seem overwhelming – but it’s really not. Something that I recently started to use is a prayer-journal method, as it helps me focus more and I can also review all that God has done for me in the past. Just get a cheap notebook from the store, and write your prayer to God. Thank Him, praise Him, confess to Him, pour out your heart to Him. If that’s not your style, pray out loud or in your head, giving 5 minutes each to confession (where you went wrong recently & asking for God’s strength), thanksgiving (what God has done for you), praise (who/what God is), listening (He wants to speak too!), other’s needs, and your needs (for 30 minutes to start). You can pray in the car on your way to work, during your lunch break, during your exercise time, while doing dishes, whenever. Set aside time every day to communicate with God in some way, shape or form.
The BOTTOM LINE: don’t rob God of the time He gave you to spend with Him.