TWENTY-NINTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME WORLD MISSION SUNDAY
n our first reading from Isaiah 45, the Lord tells King Cyrus that he was anointed and called by God even though he did not know him. Cyrus, also known as Cyrus the Great was a king of a vast empire and he was known as a king who respected the customs and religions of the lands that he conquered. God, in his providence also allowed the king to reign for 30 years. God was in control all along, not king Cyrus.
Sometimes we forget that God has control of our lives, even though we know him in a real way in our lives as baptized Christians. It takes a reading like our reading from Isaiah to drive that reality back into our lives – God is in control and he is the Lord and there is no other, there is no other God besides Him. We are not in charge, our money is not in charge, other people in our lives are not in charge, God is in charge.
Who do we think we are when we try to control everything in our lives? What does it take for us to realize that God is God and we are not? In recovery programs they talk about people with addictions needing to hit rock bottom before seeking help. This is true of many Christians as well, our lives need to get so overwhelming that we finally say something like I cannot do this anymore, or I need help, or we pray please help me Lord, or thy will be done.
We know that we shouldn’t wait so long to ask for help, but our pride gets in the way, doesn’t it? We don’t want other people to know that we have problems, so we put on a good front and act as if all is well, when in fact it is not.
The Pharisees tried that with Jesus several times and each time he called them out. He knew their intentions and he told them what they needed to hear. He told them to repay Caesar what belonged to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.
This message applies to us as well when it comes to our lives. We need to repay God what is rightly due to him. Instead of being controlling, we should be submissive when it comes to letting go of the control of our lives and submitting to God’s will for our lives. God knows best, not us. Like King Cyrus, he gives us all that we have, especially our lives, and we need to honor and trust him to guide us and care for us each day.
This week, may each of us honor him by giving back the control of our lives to Him, since that control rightly belongs to God, not us. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 96 “…great is the Lord and highly to be praised, awesome is he, beyond all gods.”
Rev. Robert L. Pope, Jr.