Scripture: Leviticus 25: (God said to the people) 23 The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants.
Observation: In this chapter God is laying out the rules for buying and selling land the Israelites have occupied. While the people are allowed to exercise some discretion as it relates to property, the passage makes clear to whom the land ultimately belongs. As God says “for the land is mine, with me your are but aliens and tenants”. So long as the people remembered this truth, they had little trouble abiding by God’s rules and prospering. But when they forgot, thinking of themselves as “owners”, things went badly. Ultimately, the land was taken from them.
Application: As was true for people in ancient times is true for you and me. As long as I remember that all I have is a gift from God, following God’s rules and ways is relatively easy. I do not begrudge returning a tithe or more to the Lord because I’m grateful for God’s lavish generosity in the first place. But when I start thinking of things as “mine”, as earned by my hard work rather than received as a gift, then I get tight-fisted. A spirit of gratitude becomes a spirit of entitlement and I resent giving back what “belongs” to me. And then I withhold the tithe from God, and I trust myself to provide for my needs more than I trust God. I become like the seagulls in the movie “Finding Nemo”, thinking everything is “mine? mine? mine?”.
And things go badly. Anxiety enters my life when I depend on myself to provide rather than trusting God. I fear the future because I don’t know what’s around the next corner as God does. Thus, insecurity reigns. I live out of a sense of scarcity more than abundance. I have no peace as it relates to provision as I waffle between fear and greed. This is no way to live. It is certainly not the life God desires for us.
Question: Deep down, who do you believe “owns” your stuff? Does your treatment of the resources at your disposal reflect God’s ownership or yours?
Prayer: Gracious God, you are so good to us. You lavish us with what we need and even more. Yet our sinful nature tends to want to take over and treat your gift as it were earned. Give us grace to embrace the truth of your sovereignty over all aspects of our lives, which are a gift from you from top to bottom. And in so doing, give us peace in anxious times. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.