On the heels of a tremendous victory for the Mobberly family, I cannot separate myself from the reality that there are areas of our lives in which we need to relinquish control. Having finished a three week stewardship series, I continue to hear stories of yielding to God battles with cancer, parenting inconsistencies, marital stagnations, not to mention the obvious financial frailties.
I shared with the crowd at our Family Worship Service recently that according to Psalm 24, The Lord is the Provider; He has the Plan, and therefore He still gets all the Praise! Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.” God owns it all and controls it all. Seems vividly apparent to me this week that we are still trying to own what we will never “own” and we are not “owning” what we should own.
Most of us began our adult life by renting a place to live. We typically don’t have the equity for a down payment early on. So we make a deal with a property owner, a landlord, to use what he owns for a monthly fee. The landlord still owns the property, but he allows us to live in it as long as we pay for it and don’t abuse it.
Have you ever rented a place and desired to remodel it or paint it or purchase new appliances? Probably not (unless you made a deal with the owner). Why? Because you don’t own it. One of the benefits of renting is that the owner pays for maintenance and repairs. As the renter, generally you are responsible for light maintenance, cleaning regularly, and reporting any major damages. The owner still holds the title to the property.
What is it that our society puts such a high value on ownership? We crave to own things. The more you own, the greater your status (so we think). If we own something then we become something. But the reality of it all is that if God is the true Owner of everything and He truly loves you then you can trust Him to supply every need you will ever have. Just because something is in your possession does not mean it is your possession. It’s time we give back to Him what is His anyway, and do so with great joy!
On top of that exercise of faith in releasing to God what is God’s, there is the additional struggle to own the responsibility for our own spiritual maturation. Discovering new realities in the Christian life – like the joy of tithing, the zeal for soul-winning, the passion to pray, or the eagerness to serve – cannot sustain true development. Tasting the sweetness of a spiritual detectible will not satisfy your cravings unless you take ownership of that delight. Moving a delectable to a discipline is where ownership thrives. Perhaps we will need Paul’s advice “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). The secret then is once again, the cross. At the cross we will find the freedom to leave what we need to leave and pick up what we need to pick up!