October 15 – LD 42, Day 1: Biblical Stewardship (1)
Tuesday the 15th of October
in Heidelberg Catechism Meditations
Luke 12:23 -“The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.”
The eighth commandment is short and to the point: “Thou shalt not steal.” But as with all the commandments, so also here the law is very broad in its application. The eighth commandment speaks of our required love towards the neighbour, specifically with respect to our neighbours’ earthly possessions. But it also speaks of our own personal use of the possessions which God has given us. It sets before us the positive instruction of this commandment as set forth in Luke 12:13-31, to seek the kingdom of God, knowing that “life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.”
We also approach the eighth commandment as those who have been redeemed in Christ. We read the Ten Commandments as they follow the introduction to the law: “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex. 20: 2, Deut. 5:6). That reality of our salvation is the context in which we approach the law, including the eighth commandment. Hearing the eighth commandment from Him Who redeemed us from the slavery of sin, we do not attempt to push aside this statute, but desire to walk according to the will of God in thankfulness of heart. We see that the redemptive work of Christ embraces all things, and necessarily affects our perspective towards earthly possessions. So we seek God’s will also concerning earthly possessions.
The eighth commandment is undergirded by a fundamental principle — the biblical principle of stewardship. The eighth commandment requires us to recognize that we are only stewards or managers of God’s possessions. The Bible’s teaching concerning stewardship emphasizes two things. The first point of emphasis is that God owns all things. That is confirmed in the first two verses of Ps 24. He Who created all things is the absolute owner of all things. There is nothing we can claim as our own. Therefore, when it comes to earthly possessions, we must recognize that everything in our possession is an extension of God’s kingly possessions. He is pleased to use certain means to place those goods in our possession. But we are caretakers of what is His.