28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Reflection On This Scripture
The kingdom of God is about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17) Jesus taught that we should seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all the other things that we need will be added to us in His time and His way. (Matt 6:33) Although the kingdom of God will come in its fullness when Jesus Christ returns, the body of Christ is to be modeling the experience of the kingdom of God now before a lost world, as Jesus, the King reigns in each of us through the Holy Spirit! (I Cor 6:19) Our communities should be experiencing His kingdom through us, when they witness the lives that we live, full of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. They will know who we are by our love for one another (John 15:12, 17), and how we care and share with one another (Acts 2, 4).
This is the purpose for growing together in unity into the fullness of Christ, one body building itself up in love. (Eph 4:15-16) In the same way that anger (covered yesterday) is reminiscent of the “old man/nature,” so is theft, which not only deprives people of what is rightfully theirs supplied by God, but it also destroys trust within the community, which the body of Jesus Christ is building together. Jesus spoke of the thief (Satan) who comes to steal, kill and destroy, but declared that He, Himself, has come to supply life in abundance. (John 10:10) In the same way, thieves take from others for their own benefit, whereas those filled with the Spirit of Jesus are to work with their own hands, doing something meaningful in order to supply for others in their times of need. What would the Church (people, not building) look like if every member from the body labored diligently with his own hands in order to have something to share with anyone in need? Is it safe to say that the real needs of the body of Christ and those around us would be met, by loving, kingdom-of-God people?
Obviously in a hard economy, there are those without work and struggling. Others make only what pays the bare necessities, while others work, store and save for the seasons of drought. Then there are some who have such abundance, they have been blessed to truly be able to give to anyone who has need. But I am challenged today to look at the example set before us by Jesus, who had very little resources and nowhere to lay His head, but who supplied life for so many. I am positive that in whatever position we find ourselves financially, that we too, can supply much in a variety of ways for those in need…of a friend, a meal, a ride, a CTA pass, a job, a bed, a coat, a visit, prayer, encouragement, a Savior.
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