Reflections: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Seventh Commandment

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 44:1-18, 32-34; Mark 12:28-44


You shall not steal. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income. (Small Catechism: Seventh Commandment)


In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Small Catechism is full of questions and answers, like the famous catechism question, “What does this mean?” Whenever we spend time unpacking the meaning of the commandments and their explanations, it’s also helpful to ask a few additional questions. What gift of God is being preserved and protected by God in the Seventh Commandment? How have we failed to keep this commandment? And, most important of all, how does Jesus keep this commandment for us?

Luther’s short but insightful explanation reveals the meaning of the Seventh Commandment. It also reveals the gift of God in this commandment: our possessions and earthly blessings, or, in other words, our stuff. Everything we have from the kicks on our feet, to the lid on our dome, is all a gift from God. 

When we come to the Seventh Commandment, it’s easy to think, “Well, I haven’t been arrested for grand theft auto or stolen anything lately, so I’m good to go.” Not so fast! Have we always helped our neighbor to improve his possessions and income? Have we taken a pencil from school? Spent five more minutes at our lunch break at work than we should have? And the list goes on. Not one of us can say we’ve perfectly kept the Seventh Commandment.

Thankfully, while it’s true that we have broken the Seventh Commandant, it’s also true that our Lord Jesus kept this commandment perfectly in our place. How so? Consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 8:10: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”

You see, everything in all creation belongs to our Lord Jesus. And yet He provides for all our physical needs. And more than that, he uses the stuff of His creation–water, word, bread and wine–to give us heavenly treasures of His grace in His holy, precious Word and Sacraments as well. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.


O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.