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The World Is Mine

by David Johnson

IMG_0666(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God together.  The title for the lesson is, “The world is Mine,” and the text is from the Old Testament, Psalm 50 verses 10 through 12. Listen to the Word of God.

For every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains and the creatures of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world is mine and all that is in it.  This is the Word of God.

Perhaps you haven’t realized but in Scripture, in the Bible there are more than 700 verses regarding the handling of money and the handling of property and that includes one out of ever six verses in the synoptic gospels, that is Matthew, Mark and Luke. And two thirds of the parables. So why is there so much regarding finances, money and property, in Scripture? Because God knows we all need guidance, knowledge, even wisdom and counseling regarding godly financial management and especially as we get into the peak of the holiday season once again.

I remember years ago I called my brother to tell him that I was coming to visit him on Friday and Saturday after the Thanksgiving holiday and I heard a great pause and his sighing. You see, my brother is a manager at Sears and Roebuck and that Friday after Thanksgiving is known as black Friday, the busiest retail day of the year, supposedly. And he normally, as a manager of a large retail enterprise he usually gets up at 3 AM to open the store at 5 AM and to go about 24 hours practically non stop until collapse Saturday. That is crazy. I will have to visit him at his store.  Look out, the bargains are coming, the invasion of the stores.
For many bargains often lead to budget busters and a bad case of the buysies. So beware. Bargains are everywhere.  So regarding finances especially as Christians, we need to begin with a godly mindset.  We need to remember and affirm that God owns everything. It is all his and it all comes ultimately from God. Really?  But I worked for it, some would say? Yes, that is true, usually. But who gave you life?  Who gave you your work, your ability to earn money to buy things? Who gave you the health to earn it? Who created it all to start with? Who allows us to use of what we have and who can take it all away if it be his will, God’s will toward us?

In Psalm 50 and verse 10 it says: For every animal of the forest is mine and the cattle on a thousand hills. Notice, not a thousand cattle, but all the cattle on a thousand hills, meaning an innumerable, uncountable number.  That is a lot of beef.  Even especially when livestock in the psalmist’s day was wealth.

In verse 12 God says: The world is mine and all that is in it.  God has the title deed to planet earth, for that matter, the universe. And we need to be good stewards of his property allowed in our hands.  And thankful to God for what we do have and what he allows us to use and possess for a time.  God provides and expects responsible management, responsible stewardship of his resources as we journey through this life.

A wise money manager has written these words, quote:  All our money has a moral stamp coined in our inward mint regarding the uses we put to our money or not to as to the spirit in which we spend it or save it, which indicates our attitude that is plainly perceptible to God, end quote.

Do you realize that the management of money is a constant test of our faith?  It is also a test of our reliance and our relationship, our very relationship with the living God. Are we independent of God? Are we dependent of God?  Are we spending everything on needs or luxuries? For example, consider Genesis chapter 14 and verse 20. It says, in part: Abram gave him a tenth of everything. That is, Abram gave Melchizedek one tenth of all the booty that he won in battle. Here we see the mindset of a godly man, Abram. First Melchizedek was—I am going to verse 18 of Genesis 14—a priest of God most high, of the most high God. Second, Melchizedek honored God. Verse 19 says God the most high creator of heaven and earth. Thirdly, Melchizedek attributed victory to God, not Abram. In verse 20 it says: And blessed be God most high who delivered your enemies into your hand.  So notice also as an example to all of us Abram voluntarily gave one tenth to Melchizedek and this was long before the required tithing under Israel’s mosaic law. So Abram gave the first fruits, the proceeds of the spoils of his victory as a free will gift. Godly wealth freely gives generously.
Today how can we afford even a good guide of 10 percent to honor the Lord?  It is when our mindset is 100 percent is the Lord’s.  So we first return the first fruits of 10 percent as a guide to him, to God as per the principle revealed, for example, in the book of Proverbs chapter three and verse nine that says: Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all of our crops. This is a form of worship, our giving back to the Lord even in our management and stewardship of all that God gives us that passes through our hands. We give back and the holidays should be also especially a time of giving, not just getting as we recognize those around us that have so much less than we do, especially the homeless, the hungry.
Do you realize that the average Christian today according to surveys gives back to the Lord from about one and a half percent to three percent of his or her income?  Imagine the work of God’s kingdom if most Christians today honored the Lord in consistent faith with 10 percent, a token of the hundred percent that already belongs to the Lord.  And so does God really need our offerings? Well, of course not. But God has instituted giving back as a means to further his work and to test our attitude and faith, our reliance on him.  And good management and stewardship of our money, of our resources, of our time includes giving back to the Lord to his Church for the furtherance of the kingdom and for his sake, that the gospel may go to the ends of the earth and all of the other good works in Jesus’ name.

In 2 Corinthians chapter nine and verse seven it says: Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful  giver.  Note two … at least two qualities of giving here. Number one, giving should not be an afterthought.  But, instead, planned and predetermined and pleasing to the Lord. Secondly, our giving should not be grudgingly or with reluctance or even just with a sense of obligation, but instead out of joy.  It is all the Lord’s not ours.  And God certainly gave the very, very best of heaven, even Jesus for us. So certainly we can give back our earthly gifts. And we certainly also cannot out give the Lord.  Money must not be our master.

Jesus stated in Matthew chapter six and verse 24, in part: You cannot serve both God and money. And so we must prove this in our money management, in stewardship and giving regularly and generously and cheerfully. Money and how we handle it speaks volumes of our faith, of our heart, of our will. Money can buy a bed, but not sleep. Money can buy books, but not wisdom. Money can buy food, but not an appetite.  Money can buy a house, but not a home.  Money can buy amusements, but not joy.  Money can buy a crucifix, but not a savior crucified for us and raised from the dead.  Money is not, as so m any think, something to be idolized. Money can be a root of much heartache even the piercing of many hearts.
Do you realize that according to many surveys and studies the abuse and misuse of money is considered to be the number one root cause of family unhappiness and family conflict?  God cares and counsels us on how to handle our money, with even more than 700 verses regarding the handling of money and property in Scripture. If our outgo exceeds our income, then our family upkeep can have a downfall. The peak holidays are coming and so our godly money management test.

Do remember in Ecclesiastes chapter five and verse 11 it says, in part:  As goods increase so do those who consume them.  And we certainly live in a consumer society gone amuck. Let’s be thankful for what we do have. Don’t be consumed with stuff. Yes, we should enjoy the holidays, but recognize that to spend more time with family and not just in the mall getting mauled by bargain junkies should be our priority, because God in people are much more important than possessions. It begins with our attitude, with our mindset.
I remember watching a young man go through a bunch of greeting cards, holiday cards and he just tore through them, never reading the messages, not the printed message nor even what was written by hand, inscribed in the cards to him. He just went tearing through each one of those cards, not even wondering who they were from, just searching for money, for checks.  So sad.

So this coming black Friday are you going to awake probably early that morning, possibly and say: Good morning, Lord? Or is your mindset going to be: Let’s load up. It I bargains or bust.  Not that this is necessarily wrong. But what is our attitude? What is our mindset?  We need to remember that it is all God’s. Let us be wise in our use of the money and resources that God has given to us during this holiday season once again.

 

David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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Philippians 4:13