Dear friends in Christ, the readings for this Sunday are Matthew 22:15-22; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Isaiah 45:1-7; Psalm 96:1-9.

It doesn’t take long for a young child, just learning to talk, to learn the power of the word “MINE!” It’s an impulse we have from the earliest days of life – to stake our claim and hold on tight to the things we want. Yet Scripture reminds us of an important truth, that in the ultimate sense everything in life belongs to God. As the One who made all things and sustains their survival, the LORD has an exclusive claim to all that is good in our world.

This Sunday’s readings all touch on that central theme. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus with a question designed to pit Caesar against God, as if the two were rivals vying for peoples’ money. The answer Jesus gives is meant to show that Caesar can have his little metal coins, because even Caesar belongs to God. (Matt. 22)  So also with Cyrus, King of Persia in the Old Testament. God showed His sovereignty over this unbelieving foreign ruler by using him to liberate the exiles of Judah  proving again that “the LORD is God and there is no other. (Is. 45) Finally, St. Paul commends the Thessalonians for receiving God’s Word in faith and turning from their idols to worship and serve the only true God. (1 Thess. 1)

Do you struggle with an unhealthy attachment to material possessions? What would it look like for you to acknowledge the LORD’s ownership over all that you have and all that you are? Remember what the LORD has said about you: “Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are MINE!” (Isaiah 43:1)