Buddy is a little dog–about 19 pounds–but he has a big personality and casts a big shadow in a room. You definitely know when he is around.
Jesus talked about the importance of the little things that we do.
“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous also in much.”–Luke 16:10
God doesn’t just notice the big brave acts or mighty deeds of so-called important Christians: He is omniscient and omnipresent, meaning He sees everything we say, do and think. He is called El Roi–“The God Who Sees’–by Hagar, Abraham’s concubine, after God hears her pleas for help in the desert wilderness after she fled from his wife Sarah’s wrath. (Her son was mocking Isaac, the son born to Sarah and Abraham when they were elderly.) See Genesis 16:13
God cannot trust someone with big responsibilities if they cannot be faithful in the little things, when the stakes to act with integrity are much lower.
I think most people pretty much agree with the Eighth Commandment that God handed down to Moses as a basic guideline to the Jewish nation on how to live godly:
“Thou shall not steal.”–Exodus 20:15
Would you agree that God would not want to bless theft? And, therefore, He might withhold prospering someone financially to get their attention in an area where they might be stealing from another person and not be aware of it? He jealously guards His reputation and wants His people to act with integrity, so that nonbelievers will not slander His church.
Nowadays, these following forms of theft occur far too frequently: Downloading copyrighted music or copying music CDs that should be paid for and aren’t; copying photos or drawings and reselling them in some form, say a book cover or article, without permission to use them or haven’t purchased the rights; copying software loaned from a friend instead of purchasing the original software–this is theft of someone’s copyright.
Creatives depend upon the honesty and integrity of others for their financial support. Sometimes it can mean the difference between making a living or getting discouraged and giving up.
Just because the Internet makes theft easier, doesn’t make it right.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s a large corporation selling the material or an individual creative. Stealing isn’t right, regardless of who is being ripped off. Today I just read an article in the Seattle Times about how thieves are copying people’s books and reselling them online. It’s eating into smaller companies’ and self-publishers’ profits. (See the article by David Streitfeld sourced from The New York Times titled, “Sellers in Amazon’s bookstore feel beaten up by counterfeit Wild West” for the details.)
Let’s say, Joe obtains a CD from the library. He really enjoyed it, so he copies it to his computer.
That’s theft. Joe should purchase a copy of it.
Alice finds a great cartoon drawing online. She downloads a copy, prints off T-shirts with her own caption and logo, and sells them.
That’s theft. Don’t assume that, just because something is on Google Images or anywhere else on the Internet, that it’s fair game to copy and use it however you’d like.
So if you’re one of the persons who is wondering why you’re tithing and being financially responsible to the best of your ability, working hard and are not lazy, are not coveting or trying to sabotage someone else’s success, encourage and help others to succeed, yet God is not answering your prayers for prosperity, maybe it’s because you’re being unfaithful in a very little thing: stealing someone’s copyrighted material.
And some creative believer might be praying to God to protect their copyrighted material–and praying against you.
Because your little act(s) of theft are having a big consequence on their bottom line.
Sorry, but tonight I thought I’d share my pet peeve. I always strive to honor other people’s copyrights because I want my copyrighted material to be respected by others ie, The Golden Rule. It was actually a coincidence that I read the article in the Seattle Times today (6/24/19) at dinnertime as I had already decided to blog on this topic when driving home from work. I think that multiple coincidences in a short period of time can sometimes confirm it’s an issue God wants to highlight. However, please don’t put too much stock in coincidences because, sometimes, that’s just what they are: coincidences and not divine signposts.
And if I hit a sore spot tonight, please remember that if you confess your sin and repent, you’re forgiven. Christians live under an umbrella of forgiveness, bought by the blood of Christ. All our sins are covered by Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. We cannot earn God’s forgiveness. It’s an important distinction: It’s not that God won’t forgive or that He’s mean, but He cannot bless what breaks His rules and, thereby, encourage wrong behavior. He wants us to “walk in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).
Trust God to provide your desires in a manner that glorifies Him and protects your reputation for integrity.