Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s and to God the things that are God’s. – Matthew 25:21

Ps 96:1-13Isaiah 45:1-7I Thessalonians 1:1-10Matthew 22:15-22

Faithfulness to God is often conceived of in extreme terms. Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:17 inspire our often overactive, imaginations.

Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues;  and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.” 

Will we be faithful to Christ when we are dragged before Caesar, the Soviet authorities, or ISIS? Our faithfulness to God may be tested in this way. There may come a time when our loyalty is tested with our very lives, like the twenty-one Coptic martyrs killed by ISIS. In truth, our faithfulness is much more likely to erode slowly than killed all at once. A million, daily, micro-decisions dictate our faithfulness as much as the one big decision of martyrdom.

Julius-Caesar-Denarius-44-BCKnowing to whom we belong, knowing that we do not belong to ourselves, is the place to start. God is not here to help us live a full life. We are here to live under his Lordship. Living under the Lordship of Christ is more complicated for a people who live with endless options.

Here is the collect for the week:

Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.