I have a home. It sits on ¾ of an acre of land inside the city limits, surrounded by trees on two sides. Peaceful setting on a hillside overlooking the city of Alabaster below.
I have a vehicle that transports me to and from those things that I find are important to me. Computers for my work and pleasure. Cell phone to communicate with and provide that digital tether of computing while I’m away from my other computers. I have food in my home, water, electricity, natural gas for heat. I have pets that worship me.
I, I, I have!
The flaw in all this is that while I have access to all this and more, truly none of it belongs to me. The ‘I’ gets me in trouble! Oh sure, my name appears on the title of certain things, and the billing comes in my name, but these are nothing more than that which is provided for me by God’s blessings.
But for what purpose?
That is the topic of this article today. For many of us, this maybe something we understand intellectually but we fail to fully or perhaps even partially treat these resources like they are anything other than our property. Then some others may appreciate exactly what these ‘things’ are. Still others many have no clue just what we accumulate represents.
By the end of this, it would be my sincere desire that we all can replace the ever prevalent ‘I’ from the association we have with the resources we surround ourselves with. Replace the ‘I’ with God; acknowledge His ‘position’ in regard to our ‘possessions’.
Psalms 50:1-12 (CSB)
The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks; he summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. From Zion, the perfection of beauty, God appears in radiance.
Our God is coming; he will not be silent! Devouring fire precedes him, and a storm rages around him.
On high, he summons heaven and earth in order to judge his people: “Gather my faithful ones to me, those who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, for God is the Judge.
“Listen, my people, and I will speak; I will testify against you, Israel. I am God, your God.
I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or for your burnt offerings, which are continually before me.
I will not take a bull from your household or male goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine.
The significance of this passage runs totally counter to our natural way of thinking. This is because our ‘natural’ state is one of corruption and we live in a corrupt world. By virtue of claiming possession of these thing, we negate God being our benefactor.
I don’t think it is too much of a leap to consider that the one who makes something, is without question, the owner of it.
But But But
I can hear it now… ‘But what about the things that God didn’t make’? Don’t they belong to the respective maker as well?
Technically yes, however here is your ‘but’ back!
But if we are using the ‘creation’ logic to establish ownership, should not the ownership flow to the original creator? This seems entirely reasonable to me.
Let’s use a farmer as an illustration. This farmer who ‘owns’ a cow. The cow yields milk. Is not the milk now owned by the farmer that owns the cow? Or does the cow retain ownership? Can the farmer be held liable if he takes the milk from the cow without the cow’s expressed permission?
Silly right? Chicken and eggs; same thing. Likewise, Us and that which we create; because we are created.
Consistently the ‘created’ holds no valid claim to what it produces. Who is the original creator?
John 1:1-3 (CSB)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.
The ‘Word’ is attributed with the creation event. This make’s the ‘Word’ the owner of all that there is. And who is the ‘Word’? Well the passage above tell us ‘God’. Of course when we speak of ‘God’ we can be referring to possible any of the three elements of the trinity that is ‘God’. However, in the 14th verse John clarifies what part of the trinity he’s talking about.
John 1:14 (CSB)
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The only part of the trinity that became flesh is Jesus Christ. The ‘Word’ is Jesus; the messiah.
This clearly establishes God’s Son as the ‘original owner’ of all that there is. ‘Apart from him not one thing was created that has been created’!
Now any one that believes that the Bible is the infallible word of God can’t really escape this fact that ‘we are now our own’, we are the possession of God the Son.
All that we might create belongs to Him by virtual of original ownership.
There’s literally nothing we can create that’s not utilizing a resource created by God or the result accomplishment of His creation (this includes US).
Either You Do or You Don’t
At this juncture, I am going to assume that you’ve fallen into one of two camps.
- That ante right – Those that for whatever reason choose not to accept what the Bible tells us about God, creation, and the in inherent chain of ownership involved .
- I accept – and believe that God does hold an exclusive ownership of everything; including me.
If you fall into the first camp we are done really. At least for the purposes of this article we are.
That’s not to say that I will not pray that you reconsider your position. But in your case stewardship is the least critical challenge you face. If you’re unwilling to accept what God’s word say about us and our relationship to God, then the real struggle is for your very soul.
If you choose to continue reading this, I will be touching on the issue of why you should expect your punishment should you choose to reject so great a salvation.
If you’re still with me, then you are among those who I really was hoping to reach with this message.
If you accept the premise that God is God and created everything that we can see, touch, hear and smell, as well as that which we can’t; then we really need to explore what this means when played out in our day to day lives.
First, if you haven’t given your life to Jesus Christ, then my question to you would be ‘why’? If you truly, believe what the Bible tells us about God, what he’s done on our behalf, and the commitment he has made to us; there really is no reason not to be a follower of Christ.
The journey will not be easy for any of us.
2 Timothy 3:12 (CSB)
In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
However, the rewards are beyond comprehensive description.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (CSB)
But as it is written, What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived — God has prepared these things for those who love him.
The fruits of the Spirit alone would exceed any persecution we might suffer, serving Jesus.
Galatians 5:22-23 (CSB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.
These are enduring benefits which are not subject to our circumstances.
James 1:2-3 (CSB)
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Assuming you believe the Bible is the living word of God, or even if you don’t; you likely believe in the 10 commandments.:
- The 10 Commandments alone show you clearly that we have sinned and by virtue of that sin, we are subject to the wrath of a Holy God
- Jesus has provided a voucher to pay for our sin, regardless of what you’ve done.
- He (Jesus) only asks that you open your heart and surrender your will to his and follow him.
- As a result, He will forgive, bestow Grace upon you for your sin, and impart within you the Holy Spirit to be your guide, council, and intercessor.
It’s just that simple.
And Here We Are
This entire discussion has been put forward with the intention to lead us to this point.
1 Corinthians 6:20 (CSB)
for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.
Despite the inherent ownership that Jesus has on us all and all that we possess. He still did an amazing thing. After He created you and I he was separated from his creation by sin. There was a price to be paid for this. He knew the price before he ever created mankind.
Romans 6:23 (CSB)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Luke 9:23 (CSB)
Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
The price for sin is ‘death’. He paid that price for us on Calvary’s Cross. Paid it in full!
This is redemption, closely tied to redemption is repentance (Luke 9:23) which involves choosing the path which Jesus leads us on instead of the path of our choosing. This is where surrender comes into play.
We surrender our life (which really isn’t our own to begin with) to Christ. When we do, The result of this actually found back in Romans just before the verse quoted in the sixth chapter.
Romans 6:22 (CSB)
But now, since you have been set free from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification — and the outcome is eternal life!
Surrender to Jesus and following Him; sets us free from sin. At the same time, we become enslaved to God. This ultimately is going to bear fruit which will result in sanctification and eternal life.
When we surrender to Jesus and accept his gift of Grace, we indenture ourselves as servants to him. It’s part of the bargain. We move from sin and eternal death; to eternal life and becoming the indentured servant of Jesus Christ.
You Are Bought for a Price
Regardless of your decision to accept this Grace or not, Jesus has already paid the cost for all of us.
Each one that refuses the gift of salvation, represents a waist of Grace. It requires that the Gift be accepted for Grace to be applied to cover those sins.
Failure to accept this Gift means that the guilt for the sin is still resting upon us and with it the sentence of eternal death.
‘But a God of pure Love could never!’ He is pure love. He’s also absolute Justice as well.
God’s righteousness prevents him from overlooking sin. After all that Jesus has done, to redeem you, if you refuse to accept, then you have made the choice resulting in eternal death. It’s not a loving God doing this to you, it’s you choosing to neglect redemption.
Hebrews 2:3 (CSB)
how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
No I’m not going off on a discussion on tithing, although often is the case, when the topic of stewardship comes up. I want to go beyond a simple tithe. I want to look at what it means to be a servant of the most High God.
I want to examine what surrender looks like, under a commitment to Christ. This is the crux of our topic; Possessor or Steward.
As believers and followers of Jesus, there is only one answer to this question, we are to be stewards of the resources, and skills imbued on us.
1 Corinthians 3:21 – 4:1 (CSB)
So let no one boast in human leaders, for everything is yours —whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come — everything is yours, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
A person should think of us in this way: as servants of Christ and managers of the mysteries of God.
We are managers of the mysteries of God. That is to say, we are not possessors, we are stewards of God’s abundance.
Deuteronomy 14:1-2 (CSB)
“You are sons of the Lord your God; do not cut yourselves or make a bald spot on your head on behalf of the dead, for you are a holy people belonging to the Lord your God. The Lord has chosen you to be his own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
We are a ‘chosen possession’ of God. Pretty strong indication of the ownership element here.
Colossians 3:23-24 (CSB)
Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
So this stewardship issue goes further than we might otherwise consider. It’s not just our tithe. It extends to the resources, skills and talents at our disposal; it further extended to whatever we do. In reality, it extends to caring for nature and others as they are part of God’s creation as well.
The beauty of this is that if we maintain this perspective of ownership by God and the resulting stewardship on our part then there is little chance that the things around us can become idols driving a wedge in our relationship with our Savior.
If we give our life to Jesus; it is no longer ours. Our life and everything that He has blessed us with become tools for His Glory. Not just the tithe you commit to the offering plate. You life, your home, your car, you talents; the very food from your table, and your time, belong to God.
We simply are the stewards of these, with the responsibility to use them to His Glory.
Are we ‘possessors’ or ‘stewards’? We all are stewards regardless of our commitment to Jesus, but for the one who follows Christ Jesus there is but one answer; we are stewards!