“Thou Shalt Not Steal”

Neal Pollard


It is such a problem that there are companies who specialize in creating systems to monitor, prevent, and thereby punish it.  Statistics and estimates abound concerning the massive problem it is, not only in this nation but in businesses and corporations across the globe.  It goes by the name “time theft,” a term used to describe employees who steal time from their employers.  This can happen through a variety of ways:

  • Showing up late and/or leaving early.
  • Slowing down the work pace to get to overtime pay scales
  • Using company time to conduct another business
  • Using company time to conduct personal business (bill paying, checkbook reconciling, and other such activity that is not “made up”)
  • Excessive use of social media (Facebook, Twitter, web surfing, fantasy sports leagues, online games and quizzes, etc.)
  • Excessive personal phone time (whether voice or texting)
  • Taking long lunch hours and breaks
  • Daydreaming, excessive socializing with other employees, and even sleeping on the job.

No doubt, other items could be added to this list.  Acroprint of Raleigh, North Carolina, goes so far to say that such “occurs in every organization with a payroll.”  They also cite “a leading authority on employment issues” that asserts “the average employee ‘steals’ approximately 54 minutes per day, or 4.5 hours per week, from his/her employer”


Certainly, everyone of us has been guilty of that from time to time.  But, as Christians, we should be averse to making such the pattern and habit of our work ethic.  The Bible, in both testaments, warns against stealing.  Paul warned, “He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need” (Eph. 4:28). He also said, “We have regard for what is honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Cor. 8:21).

As Christians, we should work hard to avoid stealing anything, including time, from our employers.  We should also realize that all sin is ultimately against God.  None of us will do this perfectly, but may we make the proper use of our time so that our pay is earned rather than stolen!

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