1 Timothy 6:7 (NET)
6:7 For we have brought nothing into this world and so we cannot take a single thing out either.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 (NET)
5:15 Just as he came forth from his mother’s womb, naked will he return as he came, and he will take nothing in his hand that he may carry away from his toil.
On occasion, I practice the art of adulting. One of my most recent treks into this realm was when my husband and I met with an attorney to asseverate our wills, power of attorneys, and trusts paperwork. It was mostly “decree this” and “declare that,” but a particular term jumped out at me.
“Natural Objects of My Bounty”
Per jurisprudence, this term is applicable to widows and children. So basically, the people you leave behind that stand to receive your estate. It’s so interesting how these are also the people God gives us stewardship over. Of course, we’re to take care of strangers, foreigners, and the least of these. However, stewardship is different. Stewardship is more personal. But… stewardship is NOT ownership.
So, do we own anything of value? Anything that’s truly ours, we control and can keep forever.
Even if we pay off a house, what happens if we stop paying taxes on the property? The same goes for a car.
If I absolutely owned my property, I may have decided to take it with me, instead of willing it to my family. Or, I may have decided to take my family with me, so we could stay together. It’s hyperbole, but you get the point.
Bottom line, we really don’t own anything.
So why do I have this insatiable desire to “have” more stuff? Why do I try to figure out ways to acquire more income? I’d like to say it was for noble causes. In an “if I have more, I can give more” kind of way. But I like getting and having.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a giver. I LOVE to give (in a nonobligatory way). However, if that were the source of this drive, wouldn’t I have sat down and calculated what’s the absolute minimum my family can live off of, so we can give away the rest?
We marry owning things to ataraxia. Debt bondage wrapped as happily ever after. Our current debt crisis is the offspring.
For example, I was in Sam’s one day and laid eyes on a beautiful steel constructed swing set. I fell in lust. My baby boy was GOING to have that swing set. My older girls had one when they were younger, (wooden) so he had to have one. Plus, it’s made of steel!
Never mind with the girls:
1) we lived far from a playground
2) that neighborhood was full of kids that would come and enjoy the set
3) it cost a fraction of what this one cost
4) my husband could put the wooden one together but we had to have the steel one put together by a professional, further upping the price.
Never mind all that.
Now, we have a beautiful steel swing set in our back yard, where the novelty has mostly worn off and my youngest would rather go to a park. Quite frankly, so would I. And it’s already paid for by tax dollars.
Plus, visiting parks, libraries or borrowing tools from a neighbor promote more of a sense of community and teaches my natural objects the importance of sharing. Sharing is still important as we get older. We tend to continue to share but usually with those closest to us, unless in a sententious way. It’s good to give and receive from “others.” Trips to the local playground are lessons in diplomacy, mercy, and grace for kids and parents. These kinds of exchanges are invaluable to personal growth and well-being.
Owning more stuff isn’t.
In contrast to my example, let’s look at the example of Jesus’ life. He did not own much. He traveled a lot and there was one donkey between him and the twelve disciples. He even borrowed his crib and his tomb! His life and death focused on giving. All the while, being the true owner. Willing to purchase us with His blood. A payment we can’t afford. So, He entrusts us as stewards.
In His obedience to His calling, we were bought with a price. He inherited us as Spiritual Objects of His Bounty forevermore.
Be well, Beloved.