Many today describe a world in chaos as the new normal. There are wars and rumors of war, diseases like COVID and such, political fighting and infighting and a long list of other challenges. One result of all of it is an escalation in the level of antagonism against Christians and the Church. Instead of thinking it’s “them against us,” a more accurate way to see it is “all against God and His Son Jesus.” One help for us Christians is to reorient our thinking from a very basic level. Consider the following:
Two men are quarreling over the ownership of a piece of land. They come to a rabbi and ask him to settle the dispute. The rabbi says, “I will ask the land which of you it belongs to.” He put his ear to the ground and then said, “The land said it belongs to no one, but that both of you belong to it. Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
The basic issue of ownership is important for people today as they seek to live in the chaos. Consider that success is often measured by how much “stuff” one has. People often find a sense of security (a false sense of security to be sure) in how much they have. There have been countless arguments over who owns what.
Ownership is also a key issue for the Christian steward, but in a completely different way. The Christian steward recognizes that he/she is not the owner. “The biblical truth,” says Charles R. Lane in Ask, Thank, Tell, “that it all belongs to God—is the cornerstone of everything we have to say about stewardship” and how we frame the world in which we live.
The term “stewardship” immediately identifies the steward as one who is not the rightful owner of what is to be stewarded. “Stewards,” R. Scott Rodin writes in Stewards in the Kingdom, “are by definition not owners, but they have a relationship with the owner in order to be a faithful steward.”
Here are some questions to think about:
- What do the following Bible verses say about God’s ownership?
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).
- How do the following incorrect statements influence our thinking?
We own what we have.
We have what we have because we deserve it.
Starting with the truth of God as the Creator and owner influences how we think about all that is going on around us. God is the owner. We are stewards of all that He blesses us with to use according to His purposes. We’re accountable to Him for our stewardship.
What can you do this week that will demonstrate that you really believe that God owns everything?
This is one of nine devotions from the resource Leading Through Chaos, written by various Michigan District Stewardship Committee members. These devotions are for use by congregational leaders to boards of directors, church councils, committees, and any others who might use them in these challenging times. You can download your free copy here.
Jim Tafel - September 21, 2022
Thanks for this devotional!