by Andrew McQuitty

This content is part of a series.

The Lesson of the Little Red Hen (8 of 10)
Andrew McQuitty
Exodus 20:.15

"The great bulk of what was achieved by individuals during [the early years of our nation] had to be done with their own peaceful effort. . . No man could force another man to give him the. . . necessities of life, either directly through robbery or indirectly through the government's power to tax. . . Young people grew up as individuals in search of achievement, not as protesters in search of guaranteed incomes" (Nelson Hultberg).

Introduction: the different shades of shakedown

Ex. 20.15 says, "You shall not steal" or take another's property dishonestly (Webster's New World). The concept has multiple expressions: filch, mug, loot, pilfer, plunder, pinch, purloin, pillage, poach, pirate, appropriate, misappropriate, shakedown, flim-flam, heist, fleece, shanghai, swipe, scam, swindle. And this for gentlemen thieves: "dispossess," as in "Stick 'em up; this is a dispossession!"

I. Ways we steal.

By ripping off. . .

Have you ever had anything stolen? Once someone lifted my down jacket while I was in a college class during a bitter Chicago winter; had to walk home in 15 below temp's in my shirtsleeves! I felt violated and angry. I identified with the guy who put a sign on his house: "This property protected by a pit bull with AIDS."

Have you ever stolen? How about a comic book or candy bar? How about a grape from the produce section--(please raise your hands, we're taking a picture!)? The point is that taking what doesn't belong to us is flat wrong. God says so. Clearly. It's wrong to use your buddy's skis and forget to return them. It's wrong to take hotel towels and to steal grades by cheating or to apply the five-fingered discount at Sam's!

By faking out. . .

But flat-out dispossession isn't the only way to steal.

"The LORD detests differing weights, and dishonest scales do not please him" (Prov. 20:23).

It reminds me of that old Norman Rockwell pai ...

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