On Saturday, January 23rd, 2016, I participated in the Lifespring Ministry Training Session. The experience left an indelible mark on my life. It was an impactful teaching on Discipleship and Stewardship.
One question has been echoing in my mind since then; “Whose are you? I wrote it down a neon green flash card and kept it in view.
In today’s blog, I will share with you, nuggets I gleaned as I searched deeper into this subject.
Who owns you?
Who or what owns you? Who owns you has authority/control/rulership over your life.
Who or what owns you gets your attention. Who owns you is your master. Who owns you is your Lord. You have an allegiance to who or what owns you.
Anything you put before God owns you.
Anything you can’t stop thinking about owns you.
Anything you give all you love owns you.
Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God – Martin Luther.
You? Your desires? Your ambitions? Your possessions?
God is the true Owner of all things:
Let’s go to the very beginning. “In the beginning, God prepared, formed, fashioned and created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Before that, the earth was without form, a bottomless emptiness and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep until the Spirit of God brooded over the surface of the waters. So God created all things seen and unseen. We confirm this from Psalm 24:1:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.
For He laid the earth’s foundation on the seas. And build it on the oceans depths.
Everything under the heaven belongs to God (Job 41:1). The heavens in itself, the earth and everything in it belongs to the Lord our God (Deut 10:14). By faith, we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command. So God owns the whole universe. Everything in the world belongs to God, who created it. He is the Author and Creator of our lives. He has supreme sovereignty over all things.
An author or creator has control over what he has created. Further in Genesis 1, we see God creating mankind in His image and after His likeness. Who created you owns you and has authority over your life.
God has never changed ownership. God is the Owner and Source of everything.
We are not our own; our bodies, our souls, our lives are not our own. God is the Owner of everything we are and everything we have. God has ownership and authority over us, which is borne out His love.
We are not only created by God; the Bible tells us further that we are His precious and treasured possession, called out of darkness into His wonderful light (1Peter 2:9).
The recognition of God’s ownership and authority over our lives is vital in our relationship with God. God’s authority at work in the life of a believer is absolute. Therefore, for us to dwell in the fullness of our relationship with God and enjoy all God has in stock for us, we must live in full consciousness of His authority and have an understanding of what it entails and commands of us.
If then, God owns us, He automatically owns everything we own.
Who owns you owns what you own.
What do you own? What do you have that has not been given you?
If God owns us and everything we own, does our life reflect this understanding?
I had a young lady living with me several years ago. I had spent the day cooking and made several dishes still simmering on the cooker. I am not quite sure if I was expecting visitors or I was preparing for a scheduled hospital stay. I was resting on the sofa when my young lady came back home. “Hello Aunty,” she said as she dropped her bag on another sofa. I welcomed her back home. She walked behind me into the kitchen. Then I heard her pick a plate from the cabinet. The next second, the lids were coming off the pots as she began to help herself to the food without as much as a glance in my direction. My jaw dropped. I gaped at her, my eyeballs popping out of my head. It took me some moments to recover. In those days, I was not doing well in the school of patience and long-suffering. I was consistently failing the tests of patience. Needless to say, I called her to order. I felt it was inappropriate for her to start helping herself to the contents of the different pots without consulting with me and without my direction or instruction.
That incidence played itself back in my mind this week as I pondered on God’s ownership of our lives and all we own. In the context of the theme of this post and based on the scenario shared above, the following questions would have been relevant;
- What did you contribute to making what was in the pots?
- Which part did you play in the process of making them?
- Do you know the intention of the person who made the variety of dishes, and the purpose for which they were made?
- Do you know how and when the person who made them wanted them to be used?
- What makes you think it was okay to take and use them as you like without consulting with the person who made them.
I have a ground rule; “if you didn’t put it there, you can’t take it without permission.” In the context of this discuss; if you don’t own it, you should not use it without consultation with and directives from the owner.
But isn’t that what we do?
We have not created ourselves. We played no part in the process of our creation. Our lives belong to God, yet so often we live life without consulting with God for direction and guidance. Many times we do things as it pleases us. We own nothing. Everything we have is a gift from God to us, yet we use the resources God bestowed on us at it pleases us and without recourse to God, the Owner, and Giver of all the things we have.
“The highest heavens belong to God but the earth He has given to man”- Psalm 115:16
He is the most generous giver. He designed us to be recipients of His gifts. All of God’s creation is a gift to mankind.
What else has God given to us?
God gave us spiritual and temporal gifts—those who speak and those who serve (1Peter 4:10-12). Both functions through dependence on God’s gracious provisions.
- These are endowments which may be given by the Holy Spirit. These are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the church. Freely and graciously given
- Time and seasons:
- Food, seed to sow, rain in due season so our crops may grow. Ps 136:25 and 145:15 says that God gives food to every creation in proper time. God gives us rain for the seeds we sow in the ground (Is 30:23).
- Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding:
- Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge. God gave him that and more (2Chron 1: 7-12). Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills (Exodus 31).
- Talents, skills, abilities and intellect. It is God who gives us the power to make wealth and the strength to be prosperous (Deut. 8:18).
No one is empty handed. Each of us has received gifts from God’s gracious storehouse of resources. Gifts are given; they are not earned or merited. All the gifts God gave us are a sign of His affection and a demonstration of His love. The gift is a sacrifice. It costs the Giver something. It is a gift because you did not pay for it. It did not cost you anything.
Your breath costs you nothing. It is a gift. Your intellect costs you nothing. It is a gift.
As disciples, we must understand that every gift God endowed us with has a purpose. We need to consult with God in a vital relationship to know His purpose for us and all we own.
In the next blog post, we will explore the purpose and stewardship of the resources God bestowed on us.
This blog post is adapted from the sermon I preached at the TRCI Geneva on February 21st, 2016.