WHAT IS “PURLOINING?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
“Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things” (Titus 2:9-10). What exactly is “purloining?”
According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “purloin” is the formal term for “to steal.” Another English dictionary says, “to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.” When used in the context of “servants” and “masters” (as in Titus), it acquires the sense of stealing from one’s employer or boss. The legal term is “embezzlement” (misuse of entrusted money or property). (The English word is from the French purloigner “put away,” from pur- “forth” + loign “far.”) What is most painful is the identity of the purloiner—usually it is the most trusted member of the team!
Experts tell us that theft in the workplace causes American businesses to lose an estimated $50 billion annually! Whether stealing parts from inventory, taking money from cash registers, using company equipment and accounts for personal gain, check fraud, swiping so much as ink pens and pencils, it costs the company. Over many years, a worker can siphon and remove the merchandise or funds little by little. It is difficult to notice. The median age for purloiners at the workplace is the late 40s (both men and women). Women are more often guilty of it.
Rather than stealing from the company, the Christian worker is to “shew all good fidelity.” Faithfulness or trustworthiness should be demonstrated, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” The purpose of a Christian’s on-the-job honesty is to make God’s doctrine attractive. If the Christian employee talks about how Satan lies and Jesus Christ is “the Truth,” but then steals from his company, he will lose both his job and his testimony! Rather than being attractive, the Bible will be hideous before the eyes of lost men. They will not care to hear from hypocrites who say one thing and do something else. Let us always bear this in mind when on the job!