"He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need."
I read The Confessions of St. Augustine for the first time while in prison for armed robbery. In describing his sin of stealing pears as a boy, Augustine wrote, “I stole something which I had in plenty and of much better quality. My desire was to enjoy not what I sought by stealing but merely the excitement of thieving…” Like Augustine, I didn’t steal because I needed anything. I stole for the sheer thrill of stealing.
In prison, as a member of the field squad, my job was to pick various crops under the watchful eye of a guard on horseback. I wasn’t paid. The Texas heat seemed to sap every last bit of my strength. I could be punished for not keeping up with the other men in my squad.
But the Lord taught me in those seemingly endless farm rows that my labor was not in vain. It was worthwhile because I was working for Him. Other prisoners were benefiting from the fruit of my labor. I was being conformed more and more to the image of Christ, the One who gave all He had and all He was to help His people in great need.
"WHATEVER YOU DO, WORK AT IT WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AS WORKING FOR THE LORD, NOT FOR MEN... IT IS THE LORD CHRIST YOU ARE SERVING."