Forklift Theology

Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.

Whose Place?

it We all have those days where we want to put somebody in their place. Why? Often it is not necessarily because they are wrong, rather, it is because we want to be right. In other words, we want to be in charge.

What about God? Do we ever try to put God in his place? Actually, yes, we do. However, in doing so, we are actually doing something quite awful. We are attempting to put ourselves in the place of God. In the Bible, God has something very specific to say about that, and we teach this to our children in the Lutheran church.

From the Small Catechism:

The First Commandment.

Thou shalt have no other gods.

What does this mean?–Answer.

We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The first commandment is found in Exodus 20:3. This commandment establishes who God is. He is God alone. You are not him. I am not him. We dare not dictate to him what he is going to do. Rather, it is God who we are to obey, and even trust.

The fact of the matter is that we want to be in charge. We want to be right. We want to be justified. However, we also want to be better than anyone else, and will do whatever we can to show ourselves as such.

Please understand that I am not putting anyone in their place. However, Christ Jesus did put people in their place, and quite often. Wait! What? Since when did Christ Jesus put people in their place?

I am writing this on Ash Wednesday. Our gospel lesson is from Luke 18, and the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector. Now, I’ve written about this parable before, looking at the tax collector’s words, comparing it to the so-called “sinner’s prayer”. However, it is of interest to note who Jesus was telling this parable to, namely a group of people who were self righteous, and looked down upon others. Sadly, at one point or another, we all do this, and doing so, we violate the first commandment.

It is God who exalts, and God who puts down. When we exalt ourselves, we attempt to put ourselves in God’s place. It is God who should be putting us in our place, never the other way around. Even when we feel tempted to look down upon others, we should be mindful of what we are doing, and repent.

Christ Jesus has been exalted above all, and he is the one in whom salvation is found. No other name. Only in him can we have forgiveness of sins, and none other.

Yes, we are tempted to put people in their place. However, it is often for the wrong reasons. When we are tempted to want to assert authority, we might want to consider who is really in charge. In truth, it probably isn’t you. If nothing else, God remains in charge, and to him we will all answer.

Note: As we go through the first part of the Small Catechism, I leave no final statement. There is a final statement. However, it is not until we reach the end of the Commandments. I only ask that the reader bears with me until then.


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