Ownership changes everything.
God made everything with His own materials. He owns what He made.
The name of my blog is proverbs27flocks. It reminds me that I manage God’s resources for a short period of time. God made everything using materials he made from nothing. He is the ultimate owner. If you own something you can: 1) Keep it for yourself and take care of it yourself; 2) Keep ownership but let someone else take care of it for you; 3) Keep ownership but let someone use it and enjoy it; or 4) Give it to someone as a gift.
The author of the Proverbs uses the words “your flocks” and “your herds” so you might think “these are MINE!” But don’t miss the rest of the proverb which says, “riches do not last forever.” You don’t have ownership for the long haul.
Proverbs 27:23-24 “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?”
This lesson is best understood by answering these questions. 1) What does God own? 2) What treasures last? and 3) What should we do?
1) What does God own? He tells us.
God owns all the animals we might want to give him. He owns the world.
Psalm 50:7-12 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God. Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.”
God owns the entire universe including the earth, Saturn, the sun and everything over, in and under the earth.
Deuteronomy 10:14 “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.”
Job 41:11 “Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;”
God claims ownership of the earth, the world and every person.
Psalm 24:1-2 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.”
God owns all properties, even the ones you “own” so you cannot sell your land forever.
Leviticus 25:23-24 “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the country you possess, you shall allow a redemption of the land.”
God owns your soul and my soul. So he can decide how to use each soul.
Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.”
Christians are owned by God because he not only made them, he bought them with the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
This might make us feel like He doesn’t want us to use, care for and enjoy the things He made and that He owns. But that isn’t the case. When he made man, he gave him work to do and told him to enjoy the garden and all the fruit. There was only one exception. God had the right to prohibit eating from one tree, because he owned it. They disobeyed and took what was his without permission. We can use what he has given us, and he wants us to take care of it and enjoy it within the boundaries he set in a way that brings him pleasure and that is for our good.
The wise king Solomon, writing in Ecclesiastes said, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.” Eccl. 2:24-26 ESV Don’t miss the “apart from Him.” You cannot and will not find true enjoyment apart from God.
2) What treasures last?
Temporary Treasures Don’t Last
The Bible doesn’t end there when it comes to wealth and treasures. Jesus said something that is as true today as it was 2,000 years ago. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV) It is sensible to ask the question, “so what treasure should I store in heaven?” Said another way, what brings joy in the courts of heaven?
Proverbs 19:17 (ESV) “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” This doesn’t mean you can get what you think you want from God by being generous. If you think that you miss the point. It may sound like a formula to get God to give you something if you are generous to a poor person. That is a presumptuous way to read and understand this general truth. Nevertheless, there is something amazing about this proverb if you have a right understanding of the things you call “mine!”
If your theology is correct, God already owns everything. You are the temporary steward or trustee of what He has put in your possession. He is still the property owner. As a result, you do not own what you own. It only looks that way from a horizontal perspective. If you own land, your neighbor doesn’t own it. But ultimately God owns both properties.
God also sees not only each act, but He knows thoughts and the motivation of the heart. If we read Proverbs 19:17 and selfishly say “I will be generous so that God will bless me with more stuff” we miss the real blessing. If we are motivated by compassion to be generous and cheerful in helping the poor, God not only sees the act and the motivation, but He is able to repay you in ways you might not even begin to imagine. It is seriously wrong for me to be generous with $1,000 and think I will be blessed in a similar way by God. His gifts and “repayments” are far better than ordinary things that don’t last.
3) What Should We Do?
This leads us to our lesson for next week. If we are to be good at taking care of and enjoying what God has given us to use, then we should think about how we will take care of it. This means we should be thoughtful about six things:
Think about and plan your….
Be thoughtful about the pie!
This is best accomplished by having a written budget. A budget is a plan to help us think rightly about what God has given us to manage and then managing it well. Remember, you don’t get to keep it, so it is best to store up real treasure in heaven. Does your budget do that?
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
Start with the right Foundation. Then build.