Respecting the Stuff of Others

You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker, set up by former generations, on the property that will be allotted to you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Deuteronomy 19:14 (NRSV)

I was on the road last week making numerous presentations for several client teams that we serve. Over the course of the week I was in and out of six different conference rooms in four different buildings across three geographical locations. There is a small principle that I have followed across the 23 years I’ve been working for many different clients: Always leave the room cleaner than you found it.

This can be difficult when I’m jetting from one room or location to make it to another on time. Nevertheless, before leaving a conference room I try to always straighten the chairs, put things away, pick up and throw away any trash left out, turn off the projector, retract the screen, and turn the lights out upon exit. It is a simple principle to respect the property of our client.

In today’s chapter, amidst all sorts of legal ramblings and rumination about intentional and unintentional homicide, there is stuck this one little command: Don’t move your neighbor’s boundary marker. In other words, respect that which belongs to your neighbor, and don’t take it for yourself.

One of my “life chapters” is Psalm 112 which states that good will come to the person who is generous and lends freely, and I try to be generous with all the stuff with which God has blessed me. When I lend something out I appreciate when it is returned in good shape and has been well cared for. I try to always do the same for the things other lend to me.

Today, I’m reminded of the simple principle of respecting other people’s stuff the way I appreciate my stuff respected.

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