Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Question of Ownership

By S. Michael Durham

The greatest hindrance to good stewardship is to question God’s ownership of what you possess, including your life. It is so easy to see what God has given us as merely gifts and not investments in us. It is too easy for me to see my money as belonging to me and not the Lord God. Should the Lord press my heart to give away what I have saved for something I really wanted, it’s very difficult to turn loose of it. Why? Because I view it as mine.

This is where faith struggles and we must fight for the faith to believe that what seems to belong to us doesn’t. If the Lord Jesus says that it’s not mine but His, then faith must say, “No matter how much this money and these things feel like mine, Jesus has said they are His, and therefore they are.”

Job 41:11 ESV Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.

Psalms 24:1 The earth [is] the LORD’S, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

John Wesley had four questions that he would always ask himself before making any expenditure or purchase.

1. In spending this money, am I acting like I owned it, or am I acting like the Lord’s trustee?

2. What Scripture requires me to spend this money in this way?

3. Can I offer up this purchase as a sacrifice to the Lord?

4. Will God reward me for this expenditure at the resurrection of the just?

Part of the wicked steward’s problem in Matthew 25, was not so much that he questioned the talent really belonged to the Master, but he treated the talent of silver as it was his own. He treated it with contempt. It had no value to him. Truly, if it had been his, he would have spent it and squandered it. He didn’t care if it increased in worth, or not, so long as he had a good time. The lazy, unfaithful steward didn’t have a heart for His Master or His business. He probably congratulated himself that he didn’t take the money and spend it. He thought to himself that if the Master knew what was really in his heart, He would have thanked him that he buried it.

If we are to be faithful stewards we must renew the mind and stop seeing the possessions entrusted to us as our own. They belong to another. And so do we.

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