Thou Shalt Not Steal
In a little Southern town there were two churches: A Methodist Church and a Baptist Church. Since the town was poor, they couldn’t afford to pay their ministers very much or provide them with cars, but each church did provide their minister with a bicycle for doing their rounds and visiting sick Church members. And every Friday afternoon, the two ministers would ride their bikes out to a park where they would eat lunch and discuss their plans for Sunday’s sermons.
One Friday the Baptist minister showed up on foot. The Methodist minister said, “Brother, where is your bicycle?” And the Baptist minister shook his head and said, “I’m sad to say it, but I believe a member of my congregation has stolen my bicycle.”
The Methodist minister was appalled. “That’s terrible! But I’ll tell you how to get your bicycle back! This Sunday, you to preach about the Ten Commandments, and when you get to ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ I want you to lay into it. Make them feel the fire and smell the brimstone! Bear down on ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ and whoever stole your bicycle will feel ashamed and bring it back to you!”
The next Friday the Baptist minister rode up on his bicycle again.
“Praise the Lord!” the Methodist exclaimed. “Did you you do what I told you? Did you preach on the Ten Commandments, and did you lay into ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’ until the thief was ashamed and returned your bicycle?”
“Well, not exactly.”
“Not exactly? Well, what happened.”
“Well, I did preach on the Ten Commandments,” the Baptist minister said, “But when I got to ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ I suddenly remembered where I left my bicycle.”