Is it "theft" to keep high-value items that were abandoned in my home?

And if so, do I have an obligation to try to return the items or just to ensure they are available to be returned in the event that the abandoner still wants them?

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This is a legal matter. Talk to an attorney.


Out of simple human kindness, drop them an email or text and say “hey, do you realize you left your diamond ring and your XBox at my house?”


Your question is so general that it is meaningless and unanswerable. You’ll have to be much more specific, especially about who left the item in your house, and why you think it was “abandoned”, rather than forgotten.

If some company sent you something by mistake, then it’s yours by law. You could offer to return it at their cost, but they will probably say keep it because shipping and handling it, and then dealing with it once they get it back, are not worth the hassle to them. You are under no obligation to return it at your cost. You can do with it what you will: keep it, sell it, or give it to someone.


I think you have a moral obligation to make a reasonable effort to let the person know they left whatever it was. You don’t have to hire a detective to track them down, but if you have their contact info sending a quick email seems like a decent thing to do.


I would add that if you don’t have any way to reach them, wait a reasonable amount of time…say six months to contact you. If you hear nothing, it’s yours. I assume, like most home sales, it was purchased “as is”…which kind of includes the good with the bad! :hugs:


Did you buy the home or are you renting?

What would Jesus do in this situation? Jesus is my Advocate and the Bible will advise you as to what needs to be done. “Do unto others as they would do unto you”. Always remember to do this with love in your heart. One thing to note is the fact that Jesus was against ownership of any high-value items BUT in this particular case, He would want you to do the right thing. Make an effort to find the rightful owner and if you are not able to, then donate everything to a worthy cause. Good intentions are never overlooked in God’s eyes/heart.
Matthew 19:21


Where is that in the Bible?

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From a legal standpoint, if someone throws something 9ut or abandons it, others are permitted to have access (which is why cop showed sometimes have cops going through someone’s trash).

However, there can be miscommunications among people who are moving, so it may be that the previous resident did not intend to abandon their belongings. Especially if they might have sentimental value, and if you do not know how to contact them, I would contact whoever arranged the deal to contact the previous residents and/or ask the post office if they have a forwarding address for them.

It surely depends on the specifics. What are the items? By what means were they abandoned? How long ago were they abandoned? Can the owner be traced? If you rented out a room on Airbnb and your guest left her Harry Winston ring on the bedside table, you surely are obligated to return it. If you bought a house that had previously been unoccupied for 35 years and you dug up a 1982 Roosevelt dime missing the Philadelphia mint mark in the backyard, you could probably deem it a small bonus.

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From a biblical standpoint, Jesus said it is difficult for rich people to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Based on that statement, we can assume that Jesus did not own enough property or high-value items to qualify him as being rich. Jesus would have no use for high-value items because He already owns everything and can get whatever He wants whenever He wants it. Case-in-point: water to wine and unlimited food supply. Jesus’ entire ministry was based on strengthening the Spirit over accumulating material things.


Difficult being the operative word…

He also never married.

But we are ordained to work by the sweat of our brows to get what we need.


However, you have not shown that

Why should I have to; is this a term paper or a court argument before a jury? All of us here should know the Bible unless we are in the habit of letting somebody else read and interpret it for us.

But we are ordained to work by the sweat of our brows to get what we need.
Jesus obviously works under a different set of rules because we are also ordained to die only once unless Jesus says we don’t have to. The Jews did not work for manna. It just miraculously appeared demonstrating there are some exceptions to the necessity of earning everything.


Yes, we should know the Bible, and owning high-value items is not something that is wrong. Did Jesus want is all to raise our children in low-value huts? Does he object to our saving for retirement?


There is a Catholic argument to be made for what you said, which is that it is more worthy not to keep what is not ours, such as if we find some money, etc., but that is not what you said, and what you said is not correct.

The original followers of Christ were expected to drop everything and join the ministry. If we were going to be purists, then we might want to do the same exact thing and give up worldly pursuits in favor of full-time ministry. Most everyone is a Sunday bench warmer, and few are called to the ministry. Why NOT get married, collect material possessions for the purpose of self-gratification, and just do a whole slew of other things that are contrary to the messages of Jesus? Everyone ELSE does! Is there a Catholic saying for that?


I think what Jesus meant about it being hard for rich people to enter heaven was that SELFISH rich people who hoard everything and refuse to share anything are the ones who won’t enter the kingdom of heaven.

Just being wealthy, by itself, isn’t a sin. Some very wealthy people are also very generous, compassionate and entirely ethical. It’s the greedy ones, the ruthless ones who obtain and keep their wealth by crooked means and who trample on others in the process who are in spiritual trouble.


I mean, lets just look at Jesus’ example. I don’t recall him handing out bags of cash, nor do I remember him glorifying the accumulation of material possessions. Actually, it appears that Jesus and company had few if ANY material possessions, apart from some basic necessities. They were in full-time ministry, so all they had to do was walk, talk, and do miracles to glorify God. When that is all you do, you really don’t NEED anything else, nor do you have time for it. If we want to tempt ourselves by becoming absorbed in the material world rather than gaining spiritual riches, it’s a judgment call that doesn’t demonstrate very good judgment, LOL! We can just keep on keeping on with our “normal” modern lives, eating, drinking, and trying to be happy by keeping up with the Jones-es, but it won’t win us much wealth in terms of the Kingdom of God. You will be evaluated on how much you valued Jesus and his Word as opposed to how much you valued your large bank account(s) and your beautiful Cadillac(s). Sure, they are nice and show how much we are “blessed”, but ARE they really, and DO they really? People are ALWAYS looking for excuses to act contrary to what we have been taught by the only Teacher who really matters. Spokesmen and spokeswomen often try to put their own spins on the Bible, but there is, in actuality, only ONE true way to look at these things. If you are to give the shirt off your back when a brother or sister in need asks for it, before long, you will be completely out of shirts. The reason for this is that there are such a great number of people in need that a rich person could not possibly STAY rich for very long if he/she upholds this principle. It’s really simple: take it or leave it. I didn’t make this stuff up; it’s all there for us to see if we have eyes to see and ears to hear. Most will not get a sense of it because they don’t want to. People pay to hear what they want to hear. If they start hearing sermons that hit too close to home, then they will simply stop paying and attending that church or organization. Going to church for most equals a nice, hefty dose of self-righteousness and security against mortality. It should be so much more than that, but what can one expect?


Jesus was possibly using hyperbole to say that a rich man simply could not possibly fit through the eye of a needle, literally. In this case, you may NOT be rich at all, period (and get into the Kingdom). In the case that Jesus meant a small opening in the wall of Jerusalem, it would mean that most (if not all) bags would have to be stripped from the camel in order for it to get through the wall (and into the Kingdom of God). Being rich means one would have MANY bags, so the best one could hope for is to be “comfortable” (however you want to view that). There is another way to look at this illustration: that we can’t earn our way into Heaven as it is a gift given by Jesus (not earned). In summary, Jesus seems to be opposed to righteous people carrying too much worldly baggage. That’s just what I’M getting, but who am I, anyway? We probably need authority figures to clear it all up, eh?


That is a cynical point of view, and while it might be true for some, I doubt it’s true for most of us who attend church. Most folks go to be spiritually fed, and come away truly nourished.

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