Who is the owner? Five themes of ownership


Gold is a symbol of value and a rare mineral. For centuries many cultures, including western countries, have regarded it as a safe investment. It is estimated that there are only five billion ounces of gold on this earth. How much is that? Imagine a 20-metre cube (you could fit two such cubes in one half of a football pitch) – that is all the space you need to store all the gold in the world! Five billion ounces, much of it locked away in bank vaults. Who owns all this gold? Who is the true owner?

God owns it all

Haggai 2:8 makes it clear that God owns all the gold. In Tutankhamen’s day it was believed that when you died you could take your possessions with you, but in the seventh verse of his first letter to Timothy, Paul says, “it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7, NKJV). Paul makes it clear no balances are transferred to us anywhere after we die.

In 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 it says “everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything” (TLB).

Deuteronomy 10:14 and Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:26 all attest to the fact, “that the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Leviticus 25:23 and Psalm 50:10-12 specify just some of what God owns – “the land, the cattle, the birds,” while Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:20, “we too have been bought for a price…therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's”(NKJV).

Recognising God’s ownership

Our society and laws are based on ownership and responsibility – what you possess, you own. Acknowledging God’s ownership requires a transformation of the way we think – and that takes time as the revelation from God’s Word sends spiritual pulses from the brain to the heart. Recognising God’s ownership is an essential component of becoming content.

Recognise God is our provider

As Matthew states, the Lord promises to provide for our needs: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well(6:33). To what extent does He provide? He promises to meet our needs for the necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter. However, our wants are desires that exceed our needs.

Recognise our role as stewards

Recognising that we are stewards means that we manage what He owns. God has given us the responsibility of being stewards. We are called to be faithful stewards with all that we are given, as illustrated by the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-15. God requires us to be faithful with all our money, wealth and possessions.

Recognise the importance of faithfulness

In the parable of the unjust manager (Luke 16:1-2) we read, “There was a rich man whose manager [steward] was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager [steward] any longer.’”

This passage teaches two principles. First, when we waste or mismanage our possessions it could become public knowledge and create a poor testimony. Second, God may remove us as stewards if we squander what He has given to us.

As we are faithful in little things, then God knows He can trust us with greater responsibilities. Small things are small things, but faithfulness with a small thing is a big thing.

Recognise God uses money to develop our character

God uses money to refine our character. As David McConaughy explained in his book, Money the Acid Test (written in 1918), “Money, most common of temporal things, involves uncommon and eternal consequences. Even though it may be done quite unconsciously, money moulds people in the process of getting it, saving it, spending it, and giving it. Depending on how it’s used, it proves to be a blessing or a curse. Either the person becomes master of the money, or the money becomes the master of the person. Our Lord uses money to test our lives and as an instrument to mould us into the likeness of himself.”

Take time this week to consider how you are looking after and using what God has given you.