The command "Do not steal" has implications which go far beyond merely taking something from someone else. It covers the stealing of intangible things (such as a reputation). It also covers the withholding of what others have a right to.
God gives us gifts, possessions and abilities, not for the purpose of self-indulgence, but so that we can use them to express love for God and neighbor. A person who is unwilling to use them in this manner is as guilty of this sin, as a thief would be.
Waste and laziness are also violations of this command, and reflect a sinful attitude - not only toward the people around us, but also toward God.
Using One's Gifts & Abilities
God gave us our gifts and abilities for a purpose. When we refuse to use them, or when we use them for self-centered reasons, we dishonor God and rob our neighbor of what we owe him. This section focuses on the use of our abilities. The section that follows focuses on our unwillingness to use them.
How can we include God in the workplace? (If we can't, we have no right being there!) This article explores this issue, using the idea of a "mission statement" as the framework. An example of such a statement is given, which may help you in formulating your own "mission statement."
The actual title on the article is: "Looking for a job? Have some extra time on your hand? Don't know what to do today?" But it has to do with how you use your time - the values that are reflected by your choices.
"Work" actually has a greater significance than most people realize. Scripture describes it as a very important element in one's obedience to God.
What are you supposed to do, when you're out of a job? Just about the same as what you're supposed to do when you do have a job! The basic issue is this: Why does God let you have a job, in the first place? Or, what, according to God, is your purpose in life supposed to be?
Quite often, a person who who happens to have one gift (often a more "visible" one) may think that he is more important than someone who has a different (often less "visible") gift. He may even think he doesn't need those who have other gifts and abilities! This article illustrates how two people with different gifts might get into such a conflict... and how they need each other. (They can't even use their own gifts properly, without people who have the other gifts!) The principles in this article apply to everyone, not just to people who have the gifts of "prophecy" and "evangelism." It is based on 1 Corinthians 12:21-26.
While studying the concept "Love is kind," I came across these verses. How? The N.T. Greek word for "kind" is somewhat related to this group of words. (They both come from the same root word.) I suppose it makes sense... after all, kindness is expressed by what we do - including how we use things (gifts, abilities, time, possessions, etc.). There are a lot of topics in this group of studies - some of which could probably be placed elsewhere. But since they're all related to the concept of "using" (or "being used"), I decided to keep them all here. These studies focus on the application of these verses to life, and includes "things to think about," "assignments," etc.
The word "sluggard" refers to a lazy person. Such a person is not "innocent" in his inactivity, but, by what he is unwilling to do, he becomes a thief to all of society. He not only robs people by his dependence on them for things he is unwilling to work for, but he also robs them of the gifts and abilities God has given him to benefit society with. The apostle Paul summarizes our obligation to the lazy person, when he tells us that we should not feed a person who is unwilling to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10b). Don't reward his laziness! Don't give him free handouts, thus encouraging him to continue in his sin!
A look at what the Book of Proverbs says about such people. The verses are given in outline form, but you will have to look them up. (Unfortunately, if you are a sluggard, you will probably be too lazy to do so!)
The Bible uses the slowness of the garden slug to teach us some important lessons.
About using our gifts and abilities...
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-7)
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. (1 Peter 4:10)