Five Ways Some People Steal from their Employer

A Christian in the workplace, whether working a beginner’s part-time or summer job or in a career should reflect the glories of Christ in His life. When your employer and co-workers know you are a Christian (and they should!), they will also judge you by how you work.

The judgments they make are a reflection on other Christians and Christ. Some people have a low view of Christianity, or a particular church, because they have seen Christians cheating their employers in many ways. However, some Christians have been able to advance their professional careers because the principles taught by Jesus have led them to make decisions that demonstrated responsibility, accountability, and trust.

Beware lest you harm your example by cheating your employer in these ways:

  1. Stealing Time Most people record the hours they work and are paid a certain amount per hour. While you are being paid, you should be a diligent worker. You were not hired to spend time texting, talking to your friends on the phone or at the workplace, or playing games. While you are at work you should be focused on the work you were hired to do. If you finish your work, ask your employer if there are other things you can do. If there is no work you can spend time cleaning and organizing the workplace. This demonstrates your willingness to work and a desire to learn new things which makes you more valuable as an employee. If your employer sees you often playing games or talking with others, he may decide that he does not need you and save himself the cost of keeping you employed. I worked for a man who said that when he came upon a group of employees talking when they should be working, he felt like they were “picking his pocket.”
  2. Embezzling The most obvious way to do this is to take money for yourself if you have access to money. If the company gives you a credit card to make purchases on its behalf, they are trusting that you will not use the credit card to purchase personal items.
  3. Unauthorized Loan Someone might take money from the company or purchase personal items on a company credit card saying “but I’m going to pay it back.” As a business manager, I can promise that this is not acceptable to your employer and they will consider it stealing. . In fact some fraud begins this way where the person is taking a small amount of money and promises to pay it back. They then take more money and eventually owe the company a lot of money with no way to pay it back. If you need money before you are paid, some companies will give you some of your pay ahead of time (called an advance). But this is money given with the approval of the employer and they take the payment out of your paycheck.
  4. Pilfering You can also steal money by taking office products or company property for your own. Although taking these small things, called “pilfering,” may not seem great, the scriptures explicitly forbid it. (Titus 2:9-10 address the master-slave relationship but the principle is valid)
  5. Lying About Expenses Some employees are repaid for personal money they spend for business (called “reimbursement”). It is common to turn in receipts to show how much was spent for what. Sometimes a company will reimburse the employee for some expenses without the receipt if the employee claims it was lost or not given. If this is the case we must be diligent to report exactly what was spent. Sometimes people “pad their expenses” by turning in receipts for personal items that are not supposed to be paid for or will report more than what was spent for expenses without a receipt. This is a basic trust issue. Is your soul so valuable that you’d sell it for an extra $5 or $10? Yet some will lie and cheat for such small amounts.

The Underestimated Believer

Underestimated David

When Saul disobeyed God, Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Samuel saw the older sons of Jesse and thought that God would choose one of these handsome strong men to lead his people. But God did not choose them and told Samuel “…the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Finally David was brought before Samuel and anointed though he was the youngest of the sons of Jesse. Though Samuel expected one of the older brothers to be anointed, David proved to be braver and more faithful than them.

Later, when David, still a young boy, offered to fight Goliath, his brothers rebuked him and told him to return to shepherding. Undeterred, he went to King Saul who tried to discourage him saying that he was a youth and Goliath had been fighting since he was a youth. King Saul underestimated the faith of David and the ability of God to deliver Israel by the hands of a young person. Finally, Goliath despised David and felt insulted that King Saul would send a kid to fight a man.

The only ones who did not underestimate David were God and David. David didn’t trust in his own strength but knew that God had delivered him from perils in the past and that God would glorify His name through David. God knew that David would trust Him. Many Psalms expound on David’s trust in God for deliverance.

The Underestimated Christian

Like David, we may find that people whose opinions we value may have little faith in us. Maybe we haven’t proved ourselves yet. Worse, maybe we have failed in opportunities when we could have proven ourselves. If we have proved ourselves untrustworthy because we haven’t kept promises or have been irresponsible, we will have to keep promises and act responsibly to restore faith in others that they can depend on us.

However, sometimes we have not had an opportunity to prove ourselves. We must trust in God and, despite what others say, trust in ourselves. I know a fine young lady who was told by her parents that she was not “college material” and would likely not even finish high school. Instead of giving up, she trusted God, listened to people who had faith in her, and ultimately trusted in herself. She did get her high school diploma. Not only is she attending college but she has received honors for her high grades and has proved that she is very much “college material.” Eventually she will be a teacher inspiring others to achieve great things. Some people underestimated her but she had faith in God and herself and has accomplished great things.

Don’t let anyone discourage you from any good thing! Some people want to hold you back because they’ve been hurt or their dreams were shattered and they want to save you from the pain they felt. Some people are just negative and will criticize any plan. Some people are jealous and don’t want you to achieve something great for fear of how it will make them feel. Some people just don’t realize that they are being a discouragement.

How can you overcome the heaviness of someone underestimating you?

  • Pray to God for strength and trust in Him.
  • Find people who will believe in you. They are there, I promise, but you may have to seek long for them.
  • Trust in yourself and discipline yourself to pursue your dream with endurance and zeal (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29

Earn To Live and Earn to Give

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Ephesians 4:28 (ESV)

When a person becomes a Christian, his life must not just change, it must transform. The text quoted above is a great example of this change. We expect a thief to quit stealing when he becomes a Christian. We expect his change would involve pursuing honorable labor. Yet the transformation is manifest in his attitude towards the profit of his labor. Not only does his work satisfy his basic needs, he also gives to him who has need. The selfish, covetous thief has become a selfless, benevolent laborer and giver. It is often not enough to refrain from bad behavior; we must pursue what is good and beneficial to others.

Stealing is a sin that is obviously contrary to the spirit of Christ. It involves an inordinate desire to possess something that belongs to another. The desire becomes so strong that, instead of working to purchase what the person has, the thief steals the object of his desire. This self-centered covetousness hardens the heart of the thief as he satisfies his own desires with no care or concern for others. If a thief desires to become a Christian, he must cast off this lifestyle and the lusts that feed it. His heart must change from covetousness to contentment. He cannot meet his needs by stealing but must pursue honorable work.

The Christian is not allowed to live off his brethren when he has the means to work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12. It is good for a person to work diligently and enjoy the fruits of his labor, Ecclesiastes 3:13; 4:6. The Preacher further admonishes us to work with all our might in the work that we find to do but not in an obsession for riches that will not be satisfied, Ecclesiastes 5:10-12; 9:10. When we find work that is satisfying to do, adequate for our needs, and allows us the time to do other things in life that we enjoy, we are truly blessed. We should work diligently, not to please our boss, but to please God, Ephesians 6:5-8.

However, the Christian transformation does not end with ceasing the evil behavior. It is good that the thief has abandoned his evil ways and pursued honest labor. Although the fruits of a Christian’s labor should meet his financial obligations, he should help others as well. A miser may pursue honest labor and be a burden on no one, yet if he does not share his riches for the Lord’s work or to help his fellow man, he has benefited no one but himself. He may not be a thief, but he is just as covetous. Like the Dead Sea, described in the hymn “There is a Sea”, he receives a full tide of blessings from the Lord, but “receives for self alone, nor takes to give again.” It does not share its water with the land surrounding it, nor, like Galilee, send the water further down to benefit others. Not only is the Dead Sea useless for the surrounding land, no life can grow in it for the salt content is too high. “That dreadful name doth ‘ere proclaim, that sea is waste and dead.”

We must be generous with the blessings we have received from God. We are simply stewards of what God has given us. We earn it through our labor, but God controls everything that supports our labor and what we can purchase with it. When we die, we will leave these things behind. We must use our possessions wisely and for the work of God when we can. We are to give financially to support the work of the church, 2 Corinthians 6:9-14. This money supports the spread of the gospel. We are to help our brethren in a time of need, 1 John 3:16-17. It is a way to show our faith, James 2:14-17.

God has blessed us richly; let us be a blessing to others.


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Don’t Talk Your Dreams To Death

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

“In all toil (labor) there is profit”
Diligent work always leads to some result or profit of benefit to the worker. Most work is neither easy nor fun but it does pay the bills and provides money for doing good and having fun. Even if you have a job you enjoy, there will be  unpleasant duties. People who love to garden still must get dirty, sweaty, and dig through the soil if they want to have the flowers or produce of the garden.

“Mere talk leads to poverty”
In contrast to diligent labor, talk without action leads to poverty. Idle talking does not pay and has gotten some people fired. Grandiose plans and slick presentations may impress others but it does not pay one cent if no labor is expended to make the dream a reality.

The first obvious application—indeed the natural application—of this verse is to the business world. In the early days of personal computers —before the average person could access the Internet—a man I knew had great plans to work with realtors to put pictures of houses for sale on videodisc (pre-DVD) with sale information for agents and customers. He had a prototype system, good marketing plan, and enthusiastic presentation. He talked with people in the office about his plans and the unlimited potential for profits. One problem: he did not have customers or profit from the work because he did not get out and talk to the customers who needed the system. In short, he planned and talked his way to poverty while other people, through hard work, were able to profit from similar ideas.

The world is made up of  poor creative geniuses and  rich people of average intelligence. The difference is not what they know but by what they do.

This principle is especially important for spiritual growth. Is your spiritual life the product of hard work or mere talk?

Some people talk about “getting their life right” or “straightening up” but still hang out with ungodly friends, feed their minds with filth, and do not change. Some say they want to pray or study more—and do so year after year. Some talk about doing more things with their brethren, helping the sick or needy, or getting involved with some work in the church but do not act.

Some people realize their life is displeasing to God, is yielding undesirable consequences, and is unsatisfying so they change their behavior. Some want a closer relationship with God and execute a plan to study and pray more frequently. Some take action to involve themselves with their brethren so they can have richer and deeper fellowship with other Christians.

If you want to have a rich and meaninful spiritual life, you’ll have to work for it.

  • Romans 13:11-14 – Awake and get busy
  • Thessalonians 5:4-8 – get busy with good things
  • Ephesians 5:14-17 – wake up and make good use of your time

 “He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” Proverbs 28:19 (NIV)

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” How sad it will be for those who dreamed of a close relationship with God and their brethren, a close loving family, and a meaningful life’s work to fail because they only dreamed and did not act.

It’s Not About The Money

Would you prefer a job that was high paying but not fulfilling or one with average pay but enjoyable?

Some believe they want a high-paying job even though they might not be fulfilled by their career. This is a mistake that can cause a lot of stress in your life and you may find that no matter the pay you can’t stand the job. There are many stories of people who leave careers in medicine, law, and other high paying occupations because their work is not fulfilling. Considering that people spend most of the average week at work, it is worth spending time to find a career that will allow you to meet your financial obligations, give generously to the Lord’s work, and do work that provides satisfaction. Even the best fitting jobs have tough days and unpleasant tasks but the pleasure of the job overall will compensate for that.

No amount of money should influence you to choose a career that would include work that is immoral or immerses you in an immoral environment. Many Christians have changed careers later in life because they felt their work environment was leading them away from Christ. Some have become so frustrated with the extreme worldliness in some work environments that they simply found other work. Sadly, some Christians have left the Lord due to the influence of ungodly work environments.

A final consideration is choosing a career that allows you to worship God regularly (Hebrews 10:25). Choosing a career that regularly keeps you away from worship or even a location that is far removed from a church to worship with can be hazardous to your spiritual health. You might be able to start a local work in a remote location–which would be a good thing–but be aware that it is a tough road. The wisdom of God is evident in the establishment of the church as a place where Christians can be edified and encouraged and we cut ourselves off from a great source of power and strength when we are regularly absent from worship services.

As you contemplate your career choices, don’t forget to keep your relationship with God a the center of your decision. No amount of money will make you happy if you don’t.

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