Summary: God is the owner of all things, we are his managers. Knowing this is not only a great comfort, but also a challenge.

What do we mean when we say that we own something? We mean that it is in our possession; that we have bought and paid for it; that it is ours to keep and ours to do with as we please; we are the owners; it belongs to us. We know what it means to own something.

Of course, there’s no need for us to review any of this, Our understanding of ownership began very early in our lives. If you had siblings, or spent a lot of time with other children when you were an infant, one of the first words that you ever learned to speak was “mine”. Kids are so cute aren’t they? Their first words are: Mama, dada, kitty, and MINE.

And the word “mine” grows up to be one of the major preocupations of our lives. We work hard almost all of our lives so that we can own things. Perhaps the first thing we ever worked to own was a bike, next came a car, then a house, then all of the stuff that is in the house. Then perhaps another house or a boat or some such thing. We almost always have our sights set on becoming the owner of something more. Owning stuff turns out to be the way that we keep score in our lives.

So no, we need no more education on what it means to be an owner, for personal ownership is so deeply ingrained in our beings that we cannot imagine ourselves apart from the things that we own. In fact the greatest horror story imaginable; the monster that nips at our heals in our nightmares, is the idea that if we don’t play our cards right, we could lose everything and become the owners of nothing.

You must have found the psalm that we said together earlier rather horrifying! For what assertion does it make? “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it” Scary scary stuff isn’t it? But, oddly enough, I saw no horrified faces when we read it. Perhaps we weren’t paying attention. This verse asserts that God is the owner of everything! Which means that we are the owners of NOTHING! So we are actually living out our worst nightmare! Are chills running up and down your spine? No? Why not?

It could be that you don’t really believe what it says. It could be that in your mind you have convinced yourself that this verse is not true, but I doubt that. It would be very difficult for you to be a member of this congregation if you approached God’s word in this way.

No, I’m guessing that when you hear this verse, that you actually find it comforting. You find it comforting because you know something more. You know the Earth is the Lords and everything in it, but you also know the Lord! And not just in a casual ‘howya doin” sort of way, but in a personal way! Jesus, your Savior has brought you together with him by the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus has told you that you are to consider the Lord to be your Father! So the earth is the Lords, but the Lord is your Father! A father who loves you so much that he has withheld nothing from you!

Owning nothing is not such a bad thing. Think back. Think back to that time of your life when you were the owner of nothing. When was that? When you were a small child. When all you had was your father and your mother...those people who loved you and provided for your every need. Do you remember how peacefully you slept? Do you remember how you didn’t have much to fret about? Remember the joy you had? Remember the peace? So what has happened to you of late? Why are things so different for you now? Why are you so tired? So bedraggled? So serious?

You became an owner! Didn’t you! And the way it sits now, to your way of thinking is that everything depends on you; everything hinges on you; you are the source of all that it is good in your life; you are the one who holds the responsibility for maintaining your world and your feeling the pressure! And here’s where it gets strange: there are times when you actually envy children! You envy the simplicity and joy that they seem to have in their lives. And you wish that you could have some of that for yourself.

But you already have it because you’re not really the owner. Wake up from your bad dream and remember what the psalm says: “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world an all who live in it.” You are not an owner! You’re one of his children. It’s that simple. And if you were not blessed to have the childhood I described, you can begin to have it now! For the Lord is your Father by faith in Christ Jesus and he’s pleased to have you living in his care!

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David Wagner

commented on Nov 10, 2008

I really appreciate the gospel motivation for giving.

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