Titus 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, 10 and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

Slaves during this period of time were often indentured servants. Usually these people acquired loans they could not repay so the lender had the right to hold them as slaves to work for them until their debt was repaid. The message Paul gives to Titus is we must act with integrity so that we may be trusted. Indentured slaves would steal from their masters hoping to repay the debt sooner, but in doing so they were stealing and going against one of God�s commandments.

"According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, employee dishonesty costs American businesses over $50 billion annually. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75 percent of all employees steal at least once and at least half of these steal again and again. The chamber also reports that one of every three business failures are the direct result of employee theft" [Bob Mather, Employee Theft: Prevention Beats Apprehension].

I watch a show called Mystery Diners that investigates employee theft in the restaurant business. Show after show people are caught in the act of taking goods or money from the restaurant owner. Sometimes the people steal just out of arrogance and evil desire. Some think they are compensating themselves for unfair wages. Sometimes they steal because they feel hopeless.

A Christian is no different from any other person. The temptation to steal is always right there in front of them. However, they know it is wrong to steal for God has told them so and the Holy Spirit speaks to their heart about the wrong. When a Christian steals, even a small amount, their integrity and trust are forfeited. It becomes difficult to tell someone about the love, mercy and grace of God given through Jesus Christ when their integrity has been shattered. This is why Paul wrote Titus to let him remind the new Christians of the wrong in stealing, even when they were bond in slavery.

You see we often justify our actions by the actions of others. We may say this person wronged me so I have a right to take from them. Yet we also know the old saying, �Two wrongs don�t make a right.�

Proverbs 10:9 reminds us, �Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.�