Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sensible Stewardship- God's Ownership

Before one attempts a stewardship life- they must first understand (and agree) with God's complete ownership of EVERYTHING.

One of the most commonly used words in the English language is "mine" or "my". But how accurate is the definition when being used towards anything? Can this be my house, my job, my paycheck, my family, my body, my life?

Take a look at scripture (all NIV):

Psalm 24:1-2: "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters."

Romans 11:35-36: "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."

1 Chronicles 29:11-12: "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all."

Looking at these verses- to whom does your job, your house, your family, your life belong to? God.

Why does everything belong to Him? Because He created it.

As simple as the Psalm is- I love this verse the most simply because there are no exclusions.
  • 'the earth is the Lord's' = all of creation, all of its inhabitants, all of its wonder and beauty and majesty
  • 'the world' is the Lord's= any of its substances, all of the world's treasures, things that are in this world that we hold tight to (think of all of our stuff! God owns it all!)
  • 'all who live in it (the world)' are the Lord's= you, me, your spouse, your family, your kids. You live here? You belong to God. You gave birth to that sweet face that smiles at you every morning, that's wonderful, but that little darling is not yours, but God's!

If you understand and agree with scripture that everything is owned by God, how does/will this affect the way you treat 'your' stuff? I often remind myself of how I treat something that I'm being loaned. Whether its a sweater, a cooking pan, even a car. When I am using something that doesn't belong to me- I treat it better! It's how I was taught. You return something better than how you received it. You wash the car. You scrub the pan or include a tasty meal inside of it.

So, if none of the stuff I have is mine, maybe I'll treat it better? Maybe I'll take a little better care of it? My home is on loan from God- maybe I should be more thankful for it and keep it more tidy. My body and life is not even mine- how should I take better care of His temple? My daughters (eek I love saying that!) are on loan from God. Oh how I should love on them more and take better care of them for His sake.

Understanding God's ownership can help you face trials as things happen to you and your stuff. Isn't it frustrating to have to take a car into the repair shop, to replace an appliance, to continually buy shoes for your ever growing child? How will your reactions change in the situation if you face it knowing you are taking care of someone else's stuff? From experience- I can tell you that when I have to take our car in for yet another fix up- my attitude is a whole lot better and I deal with the situation with a more grateful heart when I realize I'm just doing what I need to do to take care of someone else's belonging. Being a manager (aka steward) of God's stuff helps ease the 'woe is me' factor that so easily creeps into my life. Not that I don't complain, it still happens. But it happens a lot less frequently and with much less intensity.

So what's next? How do you apply the concept of God's Ownership of ALL things (and people) to your sensibly stewardship life? Some ideas for you (and your kids!):

  • Write "God's" on a bunch of sticky notes and place them on items in your home and office to remind you that the item (car, tv, fridge, computer, toy) does not belong to you, but God.
  • Write 3 ways you will use one of 'your' possessions for God's glory- it is His after all!
  • Write a thank you note to God. He has so graciously shared with us- thank Him!
  • Teach your kids "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"- (good ole' Sunday School classic). You'll have a different perspective singing it once you realize its deep truth!
  • Get out and enjoy God's creation and the things He has made and owns at a local park, zoo, or exhibit.

Still need one more idea? Memorize Psalm 24:1. It can be a great mantra!

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