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Givers and Takers

To be with God is to be with the one who never stops giving, never stops loving, never stops providing blessings through Jesus Christ.


My son is the assistant manager of a Potbelly's sandwich shop in the northern suburbs of Chicago. When you ask for a glass of water, most restaurants like Potbelly's will give you a plastic cup. Of course, if you have one of those plastic cups, you can't go to the pop machine and take pop. You haven't paid for it. But just about every day, something happens at Potbelly's that is often the most entertaining moment of my son's day. He watches as the workers at Potbelly's hand the plastic glasses to those who have ordered water, and many of these obviously well-to-do people of the northern suburbs take their plastic cups, and instead of pushing the little water tab, they fill their cups with pop. There are no whistles or sirens that go off. Potbelly's doesn't call the police or haul out guns or take the customers captive. As graciously as he can, my son walks over to the customer and says, "I'm so sorry. I didn't realize we were supposed to charge you for pop. Can we go over and ring that up?" As he takes them over to the counter, he says it's pretty entertaining to see them turn crimson red in embarrassment. After all, they are stealing.

God hates stealing.

"You shall not steal," the Bible says.

Stealing can be small. Stealing can be large. But it's stealing either way. Bernie Madoff oversaw a Ponzi scheme that went on for years. They don't even know exactly how much he stole, he stole so much money. They estimate that it was somewhere between nine and twenty-one billion dollars. It's the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history—and Madoff was the former chairman of Nasdaq! Stealing isn't just some mugger, short on money or strung out on drugs, sticking a gun in someone's back in the alleys of Chicago, saying, ...

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Craig Brian Larson is the pastor of Lake Shore Church in Chicago and author and editor of numerous books, including The Art and Craft of Biblical Preaching (Zondervan). He blogs on Knowing God and His Ways at craigbrianlarson.com.

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Sermon Outline:


I. God hates stealing.

II. Theft in today's world

III. God the great giver