And remember that the land must never be sold on a permanent basis because it really belongs to me. You are only foreigners and tenants living with me. ~ God, Leviticus 25:23 (NLT)
Towards the end of Leviticus, God provided Israel instructions about the rest or Sabbath for the land (the Year of Jubilee) and subsequent property rights when one person sells his land to another. Within these laws, God issued a reminder: the land is actually mine. Therefore, the people were to be careful what they did with it.
This fact should remind us even today to hold loosely to our possessions. From an early age we buck against this reality. We see it when our children refuse to share their toys with a sibling or a friend, let alone the new kid on a playdate. Despite being taught to share and do good, we cling and hold tight. As adults, this temptation doesn’t go away.
There is nothing wrong with comfort and possessions. There’s nothing wrong with having some cool toys. But what do we do when we see others in need and hurting? As Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6, do we both enjoy our possession and also give generously? If we don’t, sometimes we even make excuses for ourselves: well, I’m just one person. One average person may not be able to make a huge difference in fighting poverty, disease, brokenness, poor education, and spiritual lostness; but a community of people can.
This is the type of community the church is meant to be.
Where it starts is looking at our possessions through the right lens. Everything belongs to God. James says every good thing in life is a gift from God above (James 1:17). What we have from breath to saving grace to food on the table to companions are gifts from God. We are not possessors but sharers.
God has shared his world and goodness with us (especially in Jesus). In turn, we (especially those who follow Jesus) are to share with others. This sharing may take many forms: time, money, homes, clothing, food, friendship, etc.; but in each case, we have received therefore we give.
God is the owner of all. The greatest treasure we can have, then, is not the gifts but the Giver. The greatest thing we can do is freely, joyfully, and lovingly share both Giver and gifts with the world around us.
This post is a devotion as part of our 2-year Bible reading plan as a church.