Dear Members and Friends at Trinity Lutheran Church,
Respecting other people’s
stuff is important life lesson that all children need to learn, and
unfortunately, too many adults as well.
Someone I know is running for a state senate race in Washington. Her garage was open where she kept the
numerous yard signs she hands out to her supporters. Someone stole a good portion of them. As Christians we must respect other
people and their possessions regardless if we like them or not.
Luther explains the Seventh
Commandment, “Thou shall not steal, this way”:
“We should fear and love God so that we may not take our neighbor’s money or property, nor get them with bad products or deals, but help him to improve and protect his property and business.”
We have no right to take what
belongs to others. There is
also a flip side important for our own spiritual growth and
sanctification. What truly is ours
in the fullest sense of owning something? We talk about “my shoes”, “my dog”, “my spouse”, “my body”,
“my time, “my God.” Not all things
we call “mine” are ours in the same way or degree (Screwtape Letters).
We are reading Screwtape
Letters for our Monday night book discussion. In letter 21 Screwtape, a demon, gives a junior tempter some
advice on inflicting spiritual damage upon a Christian. Screwtape advises that the Christian should
be lead to believe that his time is his own. Get him to think that he alone owns his time and that he
alone has a legitimate claim on it.
What is the result of the
Christian making absolute claims on his time? First, the more claims the man makes (E.G.: My time all my
own), the more he will feel injured when someone else needs his time. Second, the more ownership of his own time
he has the less he uses in God’s service.
How odd it is that we think
our time is our own, absolute possession.
We did not give ourselves life.
We had no choice in the matter.
We are not the creators of time.
We can’t stick it in the bank or stock pile it in the basement. Our time is the absolute possession of
God. It is His gift to us,
and we use it as stewards not owners.