IT ALL BELONGS TO GOD
Paul admonished Timothy that “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6,7) Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” These two men of God understood the value of what things of this earth are worth. When we were born, we brought no silver or gold or monetary value of any kind. So when we leave this world, we carry nothing with us.
Paul had learned to have a good view of worldly possessions when he realized that that which is earthly is material and will fade away. Those things that are important are those things that are found in a relationship with God. To be content with a spirit of God dwelling in the heart is better than gaining all the riches of the world. We can spend our whole lives gaining all the wealth of the world and when we die, it stays put! Death separates from the treasures of this world and launches us to the throne of God where gold and silver matter not.
Job describes how he was naked when he was born and will die naked. He understood clearly the value of possessions on this earth as he had just lost his property and his children. These are not words of a defeated man but a man who through faith was able to overcome the hardship of life. His stock in the things of this world was not permanent. He knew that God had blessed him with all his good things and that they could be taken away in a moment’s notice – and they were.
The servant of Abraham said, “The LORD has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys.” (Genesis 24:35) He understood the blessings enjoyed by Abraham was granted to him by God.
Later, Haggai would write: “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8) The key to contentment is found in understanding that everything we have is not ours but belongs to God. The bank may hold a mortgage on our possessions, but God owns it all. It all belongs to God. One cannot view the ruins of the Roman Empire or the Empire of the Aztec’s and not think about how grand and magnificent each civilization was. Where are they now? They have gone the way of all men who seek to conquer the world … ruin!
The treasures of Egypt bear testimony to the futility of men trying to take their gold and silver with them. The only value of their buried gold was to be for treasure years later. The Pharaohs are still dead, but their treasure remains. Men try to accumulate what is not theirs in the beginning and hold on to it as if it was their own possession. God reminds them in death that all things belong unto Him.
Barnabas was a man who knew the bounty given to him by God. “And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:36-37) He used his possession to honor God by helping others. He was not unlike many of his brethren who felt the same way about material wealth. “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.” (Acts 4:32-35) People of God who know the power of what can be done with God’s blessing will bear testimony of the unit of the common faith.
Ananias and Sapphira tried to fool the apostles with their benevolence, but God reminded them in a very direct way that they were lying about what was His to begin with. (Acts 5:1-11) Our possessions belong to God and are to be used to His glory. We glorify God by giving thanks to Him as the provider and sustainer of our lives. Glory is given to God by our benevolent spirit of love to one another and especially to those of the body of Christ. “There-fore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)
Our attitude toward the things we have should be expressed to God as “what is mine is thine and You have blessed me with these earthen treasures for Thy glory.” From these thoughts the heart can extend love and kindness to those in need. From these actions the pure light of the gospel can be seen as men glorify God. As we view our earthly possessions with an understanding of God’s role in them, we can look more earnestly to the “treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)