When we talk about personal finance, it’s easy to make plans about what we’re going to do with “our money.” But when we talk about “our money,” it’s important to understand what that really means. The money isn’t ours in the sense that we own it; it’s simply ours in the sense that we’re responsible for managing it.
Too often, though, we begin to believe that the things that we have are really ours. This attitude can get down into our hearts and cause us to become slaves to money. To break free, we’ve got to replace that erroneous idea with this true one: God owns it all.
When you think about it, the idea that God owns everything makes perfect sense. After all, God created us, and the earth that we inhabit. We had no inherent right to exist outside of His sovereignty; why would we think that we have an inherent right to own anything beyond what God’s sovereign will allows?
The truth is that God owns everything in this world. We may think that our stuff belongs to us, but God says clearly in His word that it really belongs to him. Here are some examples:
- Psalm 24:1 — “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
- Psalm 50:10 — “…Every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.”
God claims exclusive ownership of everything in this world, including the Earth itself and all of the creatures that live in it. He also claims all of the world’s wealth: Psalm 50 was written in a time when the economy was based on agriculture, and animals such as cows, goats and sheep were considered units of wealth. So when God talks about owning livestock, He’s not just saying that He owns some animals. He’s demonstrating that He is the creator and owner of all of the wealth in the world.
The thought that God owns everything can be a sobering one. It certainly affects the way that we handle money. After all, if God really owns it, then I’m responsible to Him for how I spend the money that He has allocated to me. That means that every dollar that I spend ought to have some sort of eternal purpose attached to it.
This concept isn’t all heavy, though. It also means that God has infinite resources at His disposal, and He uses them to meet our needs and to bless us. God is greater than any business, government or bad economy. It doesn’t matter how much doom and gloom there is in the media, or what the experts say. God owns everything, and gives us those resources when we call on Him.
In the Old Testament, king David understood this principle well, and gives us a beautiful description of it in I Chronicles 29:12-16:
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name.
14 “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you.
David recognized that all of the wealth and abundance of the Israelite were gifts from God, and out of that blessing they built a temple to worship Him.
God owns it all, and He gives to us out of His own abundance. We who are blessed should remember where our resources truly come from, and always seek ways to honor God with the money that He has given us.
Photo by Leo Vietor. Used under Creative Commons License.