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From the Pastor…
On Wednesday mornings, we continue to study Martin Luther’s Large Catechism. Here is an excerpt on the first commandment: You shall have no other gods.
1 That is, you shall regard me alone as your God. What does this mean, and how is it to be understood? What is to have a god? What is God?
2 Answer: A god is that to which we look for all good and in which we find refuge in every time of need. To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe him with our whole heart. As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol.
3 If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true God. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you have not the true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.
4 The purpose of this commandment, therefore, is to require true faith and confidence of the heart, and these fly straight to the one true God and cling to him alone. The meaning is: “See to it that you let me alone be your God, and never seek another.” In other words: “Whatever good thing you lack, look to me for it and seek it from me, and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, come and cling to me. I am the one who will satisfy you and help you out of every need. Only let your heart cling to no one else.”
5 This I must explain a little more plainly, so that it may be understood and remembered, by citing some common examples of failure to observe this commandment. Many a person thinks he has God and everything he needs when he has money and property; in them he trusts and of them he boasts so stubbornly and securely that he cares for no one.
6 Surely such a man also has a god—mammon by name, that is, money and possessions —on which he fixes his whole heart. It is the most common idol on earth.
7 He who has money and property feels secure, happy, fearless, as if he were sitting in the midst of paradise.
8 On the other hand, he who has nothing doubts and despairs as if he never heard of God.
9 Very few there are who are cheerful, who do not fret and complain, if they do not have mammon. This desire for wealth clings and cleaves to our nature all the way to the grave.
10 So, too, if anyone boasts of great learning, wisdom, power, prestige, family, and honor, and trusts in them, he also has a god, but not the one, true God. Notice, again, how presumptuous, secure, and proud people become because of such possessions, and how despondent when they lack them or are deprived of them. Therefore, I repeat, to have a God properly means to have something in which the heart trusts completely.
Say the commandment again out loud to yourself: You shall have no other gods before me. Now, thank God that He has revealed Himself to you in Jesus, that He has given you everything you need to know about Him in His Holy Word. Confess your sin against this commandment: how easy it is to fear, love or trust in someone or something more than God and how you have often failed. Then pray. Consider this little prayer: Dear Father; You have chosen me to be your child in Holy Baptism and revealed Yourself to be my God. Thank you for sending Christ to atone for my sins. Thank you for the Spirit who has called me to Christian faith through the word of Christ. Keep me in Christian faith, for without your constant care, I would easily chase after another god. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
 The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. 1959 (T. G. Tappert, Ed.) (365–366). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.