A thief steals but he isn’t a robber.

A robber takes something by force or threat. A robber will walk into the biggest bank in town, in broad daylight, and demand that you give him all the money he wants.

He is brazen, direct and often brutal.

He may try and disguise himself with a balaclava and arm himself with a shotgun.He doesn’t care if he is the lead story on the evening news  – it all adds to the intimidation and fear he wants to create in you. It might even make his next robbery easier.

You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’ve been robbed. If you survive the ordeal, and you have enough remaining courage, you can tell the police exactly what time you were robbed and what was taken.

Compare that with a thief. He wants to conceal the robbery, not just his identity, at least until he has made his getaway, but often much longer.

A thief aims to be so sneaky that you may never even know you’ve been robbed.

Sometimes, sadly, these thieves have not only stolen, they have also murdered and destroyed.

When I help people with their finances, I often find that there is a hidden thief at work, and they have no idea.

Sometimes, they are even co-operating with the thieves.

Sometimes, they didn’t notice anything was missing because the thief has replaced the real thing with a fake. The stolen goods may not even be financial, but are still very precious; hope, laughter, peace, love, relaxation, friendship, innocence, romance, confidence, trust, integrity.

I know too many people who get to a certain age and realise their dreams have been stolen, killed, destroyed. And they have no idea when or how it happened. When I was young, I used to dream of standing in front of an audience of people who loved what I had to say. In fact, I didn’t just dream about it, I did it. If someone gave me a doll, I wouldn’t play with the doll, I would add the doll to my audience. But pets and pot plants were just as good 🙂

If I had to explain to myself as a child that I didn’t speak to audiences anymore, because no one invited me, or no one paid me, no one supported me, or no one thought I was any good, child-Shaz wouldn’t understand. Because child-Shaz knew she did it for the pure joy of just doing it.

For many years, my pay packet was actually the fake thing that stopped me from realising I’d been stolen from. I ignored the desires of my heart in exchange for mere money. My bank account was prospering, but my soul certainly wasn’t. Money was my master, my dream thief.

It took me a long time to realise that my job is not my life; my life is my job. Now, I’m following my dreams (yes, Mum, even when I don’t get paid).

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Jesus only mentioned one enemy of an abundant life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The work of a thief is hidden. Judas was not a robber, he was a thief. The mask he chose was not a balaclava, that would’ve been far too obvious; Judas was devious.

He looked like He was supporting Jesus, but when no one was looking, Judas was stealing from Him. While Judas was kissing Jesus, he was betraying him. He seemed one thing on the outside, but on the inside, he was the exact opposite. He looked like he was raising funds, but he was depleting them.

Judas had control of the money box “and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:6).

Judas not only took money from Jesus, he also got the thirty pieces of silver from the priests. But in the end, he realised the money was a horrible substitute for life. (He tried to give back the thirty pieces of silver, before he hanged himself – Matthew 27:3-5).

Some of the things and people that may have supported you at one time, may now be sneaky thieves robbing from you.

  • Distraction can rob you of time, it kills focus.
  • Debt can destroy freedom, it often brings slavery.
  • Fear can kill faith, it often brings containment.
  • Criticism can steal joy, it often brings shame.
  • Procrastination can rob you of productivity, it often brings barrenness.

I encourage you to take an inventory, actually write a list of things that have been stolen. Check out if everything you have now is genuine, or have you accepted a poor imitation of the real thing? Are you living your dreams, or has someone or something stolen, killed and destroyed the abundant life that Christ came to give you?

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