A number of years ago, I read about a mother who had trouble with one of her boys who knew the secret places where she hid her money, and then he would take what he wanted.
Various punishments were inflicted. Finally, in desperation, the mother took a sheet of paper and printed on it in large letters: “You shall not steal!”
Putting it in the top of the box that contained the money, she hid it in a new place. When she returned from shopping a few days later, she noticed that once again the box had been found, but this time not a cent was missing. Having been brought up in the home to respect and know we are accountable to God, the boy was conscience-stricken when confronted with one of the Ten Commandments.
We should listen to the voice of conscience when tempted to steal. On another occasion, a man who swept the floors in a bank found a small pack of bills that had fallen under a counter. He thought long and hard about what to do with it. Because his family was in definite need, he kept the money. The following morning, however, he returned the currency.
“Tell me,” said the bank official, “what kept you honest? It’s very unlikely we would have traced the loss to you.”
“Well, Mr. Brown,” said the man. “I’m a Christian and I knew God knows all things. I also knew I would have a troubled conscience, and I decided I didn’t want to live with a thief.”
Therefore, I might ask, have you been absolutely honest in all your dealings? If not, you’re “living with a thief.”
All falsehood we would cast aside,
From You, O Lord, we cannot hide;
So by Your Spirit grant that we
In word and deed may honest be.
— Ben A. Saathoff is minister of pastoral care at Tonganoxie Christian Church.