I Am Owned

keys to the kingdom

Read the following passage: Luke 20:9-16

“We are the tenants of this world, the renters of this planet.  We did not make it, and we do not own it.  We have been given the responsibility to rule it, to care for it, and to make it prosper.” ~ Doug Bender

Have you ever rented an apartment, home, or have been entrusted with someone’s belongings?  There is a particular sense of responsibility when it comes to caring for the property of another.  When I lived in an apartment with some buddies of mine, we took extreme caution and care with that apartment, as it truly did not belong to us.  Before handing the keys over to us, our landlord made sure that we were good, responsible tenants.  He was entrusting us to take care of his property.  We needed to prove to him that we were financially capable to make timely payments.  To those of us that are Christians, this is the picture we should have of our life in Christ.  We have been given life, a body, belongings, clothes, food, and everything else in order to survive (Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 12:22-31) .  What then makes us think that we can live our life in such a haphazard way?  We are not our own!  We are owned!

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” ~ Acts 17:23-28 (ESV)

What’s intense about this passage is the statement, “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”  It doesn’t say, “see” him.  The implication is that those who don’t know and/or acknowledge God are living in complete darkness.  Too many continue to stumble around in the darkness of their sin.  All they need to do is reach out for the Light because “he is actually not far from each one of us.”  What’s sad is that too many find contentment in the darkness stubbing their toes, slamming their shins on the coffee table, and stepping on legos, without so much as flipping on the light to 1) expose their sin, 2) see very clearly the path they should be walking, and 3) acknowledge the fact that they need light to be set free from stumbling through life any longer. In order to be a good steward of God’s graces in your life, it is imperative that we acknowledge Him.  It’s not difficult.  Just open your eyes.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12

The idea of being a “manager” for the Lord is for the sole benefit of others!  God entrusts us with money not so that we can live lavishly, but to use those finances to benefit others.  God does not entrust us with the breath in our lungs so we can simply breathe easy, but rather so we can live a life that is honoring to Him.  We are called not only to take care of what God has entrusted to us, but to manage those things properly for the glory of the Lord, and to bring others to a better realization of Him.

As faithful stewards in God’s kingdom, it is imperative that we yield all rights, time, talents, and treasures to God for His glory and others benefits.  One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Proverbs 21 which eloquently states, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”  Have you ever been white water rafting?  If so, then this verse should make perfect sense.  When the water is calm and flowing every so gently, there is no greater sense of peace that one can experience.  However, when you are about to go through a class 4 rapid, your heart rate begins to climb, and your knuckles turn white as you grip the oar as tight as you can.  There are times when you just have to hang on for dear life and hope that you make it through.  You may even get completely engulfed by the rapids and tossed overboard, or you come out the other side still in the boat, with a sense of exhilaration and pride.  Whatever the case may be, if you’ve followed your river guides instructions, whether you’re in the boat or in the river, there is a greater chance of survival.  All because you yielded to the will of your instructor who better understands the river than you do.

Stewardship is not just about how you look after your finances.  Being a just steward over all aspects of the life God has given you is important.  The key word is responsibility.  Think of any representative, manager, superintendent, director, or officer.  Each and every one of them have responsibility over something or someone.  Do you feel as if you haven’t been given much?  Consider how you’ve managed what you do have.  Feel as if you’ve been given a bad lot in life?  Now’s the time to show God that you are appreciative of all He has given to you and blessed you with.  Do you desire more?  Manage your life properly for His glory, and you’ll see how He decides to bless you more abundantly than you could ever imagine.

Want the keys to His kingdom?  Take responsibility for the life He’s given you and live for His glory.

I am owned.  I am second.

*Some of the content mentioned above has come from a 3 part series on Stewardship I wrote back in September/October: Stewardship (part1), Stewardship (part 2), and Stewardship (part3)

*Learn more about Living Second: I Am Second

*Doug Bender’s new book, “Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First

I Am Second

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