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Where does it end?

"You shall not steal." Exodus 20.15

A cynic might say that stealing is the new killing. It sometimes seems like, if you're well connected enough you can "get away with murder" but, in our litigious age, woe betide the one who tries to earn a quick buck by pinching someone else's intellectual property: they will be mincemeat for the dogs of law!

But then what about the thousands of helpless young children whose childhood is stolen by poverty, forced labour, sexual exploitation? What about the fact that global warming and the other disastrous consequences of selfish human activity is robbing countless species of animals, birds and fish of their habitat and the future they are supposed to be sharing with its, as their fellow inhabitants of planet earth? From a faith persecutive this is all the more shameful, as we have a God-given mandate to be their protectors and not their competitors or worse.

If stealing amounts to taking what is not our own, then we need some deep reflection on what that encompasses - both on a personal level and on a societal, even global, level. Should it include taking more than our fair share of the earth's resources? Of course it should, yet how is that to be measured? The question is not intended to get us off the hook but to stimulate the necessary research, in order to begin to perceive to what a just global and local distribution of resources amounts...

And what about our most precious resource: time? Are we content in our use of it? Have we achieved the correct balance in the way we spend our days, weeks, months, years? Or are we robbing our communities, our families, the Creator of time and all things himself - of the time and attention we owe them?



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