What’s the favorite thing you own that you like to tell people about? Most of us tend to have certain things we call our own, things that we’re proud of. We like to show “our” stuff off, we like to tell people all about it, describe how we use it… In short, we like to brag about it!
On my recent fishing trip with the men from Hickory Corners Bible Church, I had a conversation with a great, Godly man put this whole idea into a Biblically-based perspective. He asked me to come out on the lake fishing with him. When I thanked him for bringing me out on his boat, his simple reply was “it’s not really mine, it belongs to God, I’m glad to share it.”
What an amazing, fundamentals-focused attitude!
Who really owns the Stuff?
In his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul wrote
“…consider the members of our earthly body as dead to … greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Colossians 3)
Greed is the desire to have “more”. It is a desire that disregards the rights of others, and is never truly satisfied. That idolatry thing? Anything that takes precedence over our trust solely in God is idolatry, it is inherently evil and has no place in the life of the Christian. Hundreds of years before Christ, David wrote in Psalm 24, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains.”
That whole idea should set for us a framework — a lens, if you will – regarding how we view “our” stuff. How we look at the world is very telling of how we think.
Does your Faith change your view of Stuff?
In another letter, Paul wrote that we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6,7). Throughout his letters, he describes himself as “Paul, a slave (δουλος) of Christ Jesus”. That’s a great way to consider things! For if I am a slave of Christ, I am to replace the me with Christ – and that replacement should permeate all areas of our lives, not the normal, limited view we often have! Paul wrote in Galatians 2, “…the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” How about us? Is “our stuff” a major part of our lives? You bet it is!
How do you live your life? Are you focused on getting more things? Are you looking toward that next big purchase, the next boat, the next truck, the next house? In your language, do you focus on “my” stuff? My friend understood the lesson, and schooled me on it as he put action to his understanding, and lived out his faith in all areas of his life.
He understood that becoming a slave to Christ meant that he had to put real action, real change, to not only the normal “big” things, but to every area of life. Often we section off a part of our life to say “this is God’s”, but he applied that even to how he thought of “his” stuff. He understood that the earth and everything in it belongs to God; that to partition off parts of his life, to give one part to God but to keep part for himself, was still to not wholly commit to God; for keeping part of his life back for himself was to place trust in the material possessions he accumulated, rather than wholly placing his trust in God.
What about Me? Or You?
Do we give Jesus Christ the pre-eminence He deserves in our lives? In Colossians 1, Paul writes that through Christ, God will reconcile all things to Himself, that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Do you, do I, by the very words we use, describe the things that God has given to us to use for a while try to ignore God’s true ownership?
How did my deal with it? He put it in its place, refusing to let anything in his life not very come under the preview of God. Is the boat registered to him? Of course. Did he spend time trying to buy a good one that he and his family could use? Yup, I’m sure of it. but in all of that, my friend held firmly in his mind and in his heart that this was something that God could and would make use of, for His own purposes, at His own pleasure.
I just hope that I have that same attitude will all of “my” stuff.