Before my wife and I got married, I was looking to buy a home. I used to tell her that all I wanted was “my own piece of dirt”. So for our first Valentines Day – do you know what she gave me? She took some plastic wrap, filled it with dirt, wrapped it with a ribbon and said – here you go!!
As I have been thinking about poverty and riches, the question that comes to mind is – is the dirt underneath my house really mine? Who actually owns the dirt? If you can answer that one, then how should that dirt be used? If you own a home, step outside and ask yourself, how long has that dirt been there? How many people have walked on it before you? How many people might walk on it after you? What does the answer to those questions tell you? It should tell you that you currently have possession of it but you really don’t own it. It’s not yours in the sense that you can always take it with you. You can try… but how far do you dig?
Reflecting on this truth of ownership, it is helpful to consider some of the wisdom that we find in the Bible. First there is the basic concept that we read about in Genesis: God is the creator of earth and all things in it. As Creator He holds ownership. There are many other sections in the Bible that declare this same truth. In Psalm 24 we read in the first verse “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.” Also in Psalm 50 we read at verse 10 “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” These are just a few examples, but the basic premise is that God owns everything. So what we believe to be “ours” is really just on loan to us from God. We are but stewards.
This has huge implications for our lives. If we are not owners, and we are only stewards, then we should be careful not to hoard and we should be more inclined to share. I say that because God’s creation was not intended for the pleasure of a select few, but for all of us. Yes, God does give more to some than He does to others. God blesses some with an abundance, and some with, well, a lot less. But, God is interested in the well being of every one of His creatures.
Therefore, we should look at the things in our possession and see these things as tools to help those around us. We should view our position and our wealth as opportunities to help those less fortunate. We should have a mindset like that of Barnabas who we read about in the book of Acts, who sold some land and offered the proceeds to the church in order that it could be shared with those in need. Or consider how a man in the Bible named Paul who was a missionary and church planter told some of the churches he was in contact with about the needs of the church in Jerusalem. The result was that many of those churches Paul contacted made a collection and those in attendance shared from what they had in order that the needs of those far away would be taken care of.
Let me come back to my main point. The things we have are not really ours. They belong to God. We have been given these things to enjoy, but also to use in order to care for those around us who are less fortunate. So let me encourage you to think about the things you own and how you might be able to use them in some way to improve the lives of those around you. What money do you have or what things do you own that you could sell in order that you might help those around you who are less fortunate? Or, instead of selling things, maybe you own something that you could simply give to someone else who might be able to use it? Remember, the things we have are there for us to use in helping make the lives of others better.
Finally, with material things not being ours, perhaps we should focus less on them and more on eternal things. Have you given much thought lately to the existence of God? Do you give Him any kind of recognition in your life? Instead of investing in material things, perhaps you need to invest more in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ which is an eternal possession that will never be taken away from you.