Who Owns Your Stuff? by Karen Ehman
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” 1 Chronicles 29:14b (NIV)
I was beside myself with excitement on that spring afternoon. With my brand new driver’s license in my purse, I snagged the car keys from my dad and took the Cutlass for a spin — all by myself! It didn’t matter it was an old clunker, complete with rust spots and faded army green paint. I was thrilled to call it “my car.” Although the title was in my dad’s name, I still felt the pride of ownership.
Can you remember the thrill of owning something for the first time?
Maybe your first watch? Or bicycle? Or maybe, after years of scraping and saving, it was the joy of owning your very first home! Whether large or small, we like our things. But it begs the question, who really owns our stuff?
The Bible gives us a true perspective of what we call “ours.”
In 1 Chronicles 29, we see King David preparing to build God’s temple. He mentions he will spare no resource toward the construction, but will donate his own possessions and personal treasures of gold and silver. Then, other Israelite leaders join in willingly and joyfully donating gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious jewels toward the building of the temple (see 1 Chronicles 29:6-9).
After gathering the resources for the temple, David praises God in front of the whole assembly. Notice he doesn’t praise the people for their generosity, nor boast about himself and his charitable giving.
Instead, David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly, saying,
“Praise be to you, LORD the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.”
“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you” (1 Chronicles 29:10b-11a, 14-17, NIV).
Wow. Did you catch that?
“Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand” (1 Chronicles 29:14b).
What an amazing perspective on our possessions. If the ancient Israelites were so willing to offer what God had given them, turning right back around and investing in building His temple, could we today use all that He’s given us to build up other believers and also to encourage others who might not know Him yet?
It’s a subtle but crucial shift in perspective when we realize everything we work for here on earth really doesn’t belong to us. Instead it all comes from God. All our possessions are His in the beginning and at the end of our lives.
The question comes down to this: Who owns your stuff? Will you willingly share so others’ lives may be bettered? The satisfaction from serving God in this way never rusts, tarnishes or fades.
Dear God, help me remember that You own all my stuff. Help me have the same mindset as King David, to share it all with others so Your work can be done and others’ lives can be touched. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Matthew 6:20-21, “Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (NLT)
Psalm 50:10, “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.” (NLT)
REFLECT AND RESPOND: What do you remember about owning an item for the very first time? What about your first real paycheck? How can the subtle shift in perspective that God owns your stuff encourage you to be more generous?
© 2016 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org