Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Who Owns My Stuff? The Generosity of God

Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions." And He told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry."' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?' So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. (Luke 12:15-22 NASB)

Jesus not only gave His disciples instruction. He also gave them illustrations to make the instructions clear. The admonition against greed was so important that He followed it with an illustrative story. It went like this:

A rich man had very productive land. He had filled every barn on his land with his crops. When all his storehouses were filled, this man did not say, "I should give some of the excess to the poor." He did not think about selling the excess and using the money to build shelter for the homeless. His only thought was how to store more, to have a greater accumulation. 

What has always surprised me about this story is that the man did not decide to build an extension on his existing barn or to repair any problem with his old ones. He decided to tear down all his perfectly good barns and build new, bigger ones. He'd have been right at home in today's world.

More. Bigger. Better. It's a theme in our society, and it is one that Jesus clearly warned against. 

Let's take a look at our possessions and the things we have spent a lifetime accumulating. Are we like the rich man, constantly acquiring more, bigger, better, or are we content with less? Do we want to tear down and build or repair and preserve? There is a marked difference in the two perspectives that begins with a clear understanding of who owns the blessings we enjoy. 

If every good and perfect gift comes from above (and it does), then the good and perfect things we enjoy and call our own all came from above. They are a gift from God, not a benefit of our financial acumen or hard work. 

A godly perspective toward our possessions and finances begins with an understanding of their origin and ownership. It's all God. Embracing that basic truth brings us to the only appropriate response. Gratitude. 

For today, let's look at every possession as a gift from God and thank Him for them. Individually. One by one. It's a way of counting your blessings that will leave you humbled and in awe of the One who has been so generous to you.
Dear Lord and Father, thank You for the gifts You have so graciously bestowed upon me. Thank you not only for my home, but for the generosity that provided my home and the possessions therein. Thank you for a roof over my head, food to eat, clothes to wear. Thank you for extra to invest in the Kingdom of God. Help me to be a good steward of the things you have entrusted to me and help me to use them as You see fit, not simply to please myself. In Jesus name, Amen.