Stealing the Kitchen Sink
April 3, 2007 • By Ed Wrather
Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. - Ephesians 4:28 NKJV.
A man in Britain took a little vacation to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the United States; and had a great time. However, when he returned home he was a little upset to find that burglars had been busy in his house while he was away. The burglars made off with his oven, his wall units, they stripped his kitchen including his kitchen sink. Perhaps these burglars were cooks and dishwashers by day? The owner of the home, James Elstub said, “I can't believe I returned home from my holiday to find burglars had stolen my kitchen sink.” Elstub resorted to using a microwave for two weeks until he could have everything replaced.
Sadly, there are some people who make their living by stealing from others. It has been that way for a very long time. Zacchaeus is a name that most of us are familiar with, because according to the little children’s song, he is the “wee little man” who Jesus told to come down out of the tree. Children and some adults probably have the idea that Zacchaeus was a harmless little guy that everyone would have loved. This is far from the truth of the situation. Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and he was a very rich tax collector. He got to be that way by taking whatever extra he could take from the ones he collected the taxes from. Zacchaeus was a man that most people in the area would have hated. Not only did they hate him, they may have even feared him.
The good news is that Zacchaeus changed. Jesus told Zacchaeus to come down out of that tree (Luke 19) and Zacchaeus did exactly that. Zacchaeus became a follower of Jesus and began living like one too. We know this because of what Zacchaeus does. Luke 19:8 tells us, “Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.’” As the apostle John says, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18).” Zacchaeus began to live like a Christian, like a believer ought to live. His actions spoke much louder than his words especially to those that he had overtaxed. He was being obedient to the Law, which states in Exodus 22:1, “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.” Zacchaeus knew that he had stolen and began to live, as he should.
Why should a person who has stolen give back more than what was taken? In the time that the Law was written an ox or sheep that was stolen was the same as taking away the ability to make a living. It was a traumatic thing and it was only right that more be given back than was taken. Today, being a victim of a burglary or robbery is still a traumatic thing. It may not prevent us from making a living, but it is still a major shock to our system. James Elstub I am sure would agree with that.
Since you have become a Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, do your actions prove the truth of that? Have you changed like Zacchaeus, not just in the words you say, but also in the way you live your life? Has believing in Jesus made a difference in your life? Would anyone notice that difference?