Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bethany Bullet - November 23, 2010

As a Bethany Bullet reader there is a pretty good chance you’ve read, heard, and even said these words before. Therefore, most likely you can finish the sentence for me, “My stuff is not …..” that’s right, “…my stuff.” That being said, let’s admit that this very sentence might move beyond the generous and push towards the presumptuous at best or the ridiculous at worst. Reality, experience, and personal practice do dictate that - your stuff is your stuff - even as my stuff is my stuff. I am typing this Bethany Bullet on my computer, while sitting in my chair at my desk in my office; this Bullet will have my name on it as the author, even as the computer and the office door bear my name.

Of course your name is written, engraved or embossed on any number of items that are yours, too! The law is clear on this matter, our stuff is our stuff and the last thing we want is someone else laying claim to it as if it were their stuff.

In terms of our relationships with one another: brother, sister, neighbor, or stranger…you would be right on the one hand to declare that “My stuff is my stuff.” To say your stuff is your stuff does not void the very words I have tried to incorporate into my personal life and disseminate in my professional life, “My stuff is not my stuff.” After all, we do have Commandments assigned to keep “your stuff” as your stuff. Others ought not to covet your goods (i.e. “your stuff”); Commandments 9 and 10 deal with that. Nor are others permitted to steal that which belongs to you (i.e. “your stuff”); as the 7th Commandment dictates. In his Small Catechism regarding the meanings of these Commandments, Martin Luther writes, “In regard to your possessions (i.e. “your stuff”) others need to recognize that it is indeed yours to the extent that they ought not acquire your things (i.e. “your stuff”) in a dishonest way nor entice it away from you, but actually even help you to improve and protect your possessions (i.e. “your stuff”) so that you can keep that which is yours.” - That would be “your stuff.”

No one can lay claim to your possessions because your stuff is your stuff. Not even your pastor can lay claim to your stuff – your Master on the other hand, that is a different matter all together isn’t it!

Jesus said, “If someone wants your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” Make no mistake about it; the Commandment still applies to the “someone” who “asks.” They are forbidden to take because…your stuff is your stuff. The fulfillment of Jesus’ call to freely give is not directed to the one who wants your stuff, but the one who has your stuff – that’d be you. Your stuff is your stuff, and certainly it is not their stuff – ULTIMATELY, your stuff is HIS STUFF and therefore it is true to say, “Your Stuff is NOT Your Stuff!”

In his letter to the Colossians Paul writes, “Jesus is the image of the invisible God.” Now follow along with me and every time we come to the words ‘ALL THINGS’ please read that with me, ok.

“Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him ALL THINGS were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL THINGS were created by him and for him. He is before ALL THINGS, and in him ALL THINGS hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in ALL THINGS he might have the supremacy.”

All things – this is not Christ assuming for Himself that which is not truly His nor is He interposing Himself in the midst of that which is yours, rather the words “all things” put Christ in His rightful place. He is the source of ALL THINGS in heaven or on earth! Hence He is the source of ALL THINGS in our closets and garages; He is the provider of ALL THINGS in our wallets and safety deposit boxes. Therefore, ALL THINGS we have find their source in Him and are a resource for Him.

+ All things are His…whether thrones, recliners, or dinette sets for that matter;
+ All things are His…powers, as well as pocketbooks, rulers, futures, and toasters too.
+ All things are His…from our authorities to our assets; they are all His!

Saying, My Stuff is Not My Stuff is no different than saying ALL THINGS belong to Him. ‘All things’ is an affirmation that Christ has priority - first place; from the hours in your day to the talent in your fingers to the bucks in your wallet. Your stuff is not your stuff – means that ALL OF IT His.

Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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