Everything Belongs to God
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I am (still) borrowing some vinyl records from my grandfather. He lent them to me a long time ago with no deadline for returning them. To be honest, I borrowed them so long ago that I only seldom remember that they are still his albums, not mine.

Have you ever borrowed something for so long that you forgot you had borrowed it in the first place? So long that you actually believed you owned whatever it was you’d borrowed?

Who has given Me anything that I need to pay back?

Everything under heaven is Mine. 

Job 41:11

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to Him.

Psalm 24:1

Everything belongs to God. Furthermore, “The world and all its people belong to Him.” (Emphasis added) Everything belongs to God, including me.

When it comes to the subject of giving, we must remember (1) who the owner is, and (2) who the borrower is. If we find ourselves wrestling with giving, it is important to remember who gave everything to us in the first place.

When I remember who owns the vinyl records, it changes the way I enjoy them, treat them, and use them. To stretch the illustration a bit further, remembering the owner should also remove any reluctance or resentment if my grandfather called me and asked for some or all of his records back. The analogy is nearing the end of its usefulness now, since my grandfather is unlikely to ever require me to return all or part of the albums, even though he owns them, but things are a bit different with God. Similar in principle, but different. 

If I look at my finances, possessions, and time from the perspective that God owns them and I’m just a borrower, it changes the way I use them. Where the illustration began to break down, the reality is somewhat profound: God does call us to give, and I cannot begrudge Him for calling me to give a portion or all of what He already owns back to Him for His work and glory.

If I forget this, I may quickly become ungenerous and/or proud, half-heartedly giving “my time and money” to God while keeping score of how much He “owes me”, if I give at all.

On the other hand, if I remember this, giving to God becomes an act of thankfulness, generosity, and trust.  When I give, I acknowledge God’s provision, goodness, and ownership.  

Think About: In what part of my life (money, time, people, possessions, etc.) is it easiest for me to forget that everything belongs to God? What part is easiest to remember? What and/or how is God calling me to give back to Him?

Pray: God my Father, Thank you for all the things you let me “borrow.” Help me to remember that everything belongs to you, including me. Remind me when I forget, Father, and inspire me to give generously and joyfully, just as you have to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen

River Community Church
The Good Friends
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I remember years ago when our first four children were little, we were busy raising them, serving in many areas of ministry and just trying to make it and survive. During this time one of our greatest joys was hosting a lifegroup in our home. Each Wednesday night we joined with other young couples and children to open the Word of God and “do” life together. It was CRAZY!!!! I can’t even begin to explain the amount of craziness that ensued each week in our basement playroom. We sure were thankful when the weather was warm and they could all play outside. At one point I think we had about 14-16 adults and the kids outnumbered us two to one! CRAZY!!!!
But each week we shared a meal together, studied the Word and also shared life’s joys and sorrows. It was a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. During this time our washing machine, which was already about 25 years old, went on the blink. It was going to cost more to get it fixed than it was worth. But we didn’t have the money to have it fixed or to get a new one. Somehow our lifegroup found out about our little issue and also understood how hard our lives would be without a washing machine at home and the mountains of laundry that were done at our home each week. We still don’t know to this day who did it or how it happened. But, I received a phone call one day saying that a delivery guy would be delivering and installing our brand new washer. I tried to explain that we hadn’t ordered a new washing machine but he assured me that it was to be delivered at this address and in our name. We were blown away by our lifegroup’s love for us. Because of our friends’ sacrificial giving to our family we were also amazed at God’s love and realizing that He is mindful of us and our everyday needs.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. Philippians 4:19

So often God chooses to give us what we need through His people. He owns everything that we possess and sometimes He entrusts us to do things for others for His glory, to build our faith and to strengthen our bonds of friendship and being the family of God to one another. This incident for us was an incredible example of God supplying our need and using His people to do it.

Think about it: Pastor Steve likes to say, “See a need, meet a need”. Is there a need that you can meet to show someone the love of Christ?  Do you truly believe that everything you own is God’s and that He may choose to use you to show His love to others?Sometimes these times of giving to others can be hard and a sacrifice for us and our families. Are you willing to give even when it may be uncomfortable at times?

Prayer: Father thank you for caring about our needs and for being mindful of us. Help us to see those in need around us and stir our hearts when you may want to use us to give to others and show them your love. We recognize that all we have is yours. Help us to be obedient to your voice and to step out to be your hands and feet to others. 

/MeredithVaughn

River Community Church
Cheese Dip
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“No mommy, it’s MY cheese chip,” my youngest daughter exclaimed possessively as I went to dip my tortilla chip in the bowl we were sharing together at our weekly Monday lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.  I looked at her in surprise as she grabbed the dish and pulled it to her side of the table with a determined look of resentment on her little face.  “Goodness” I chuckled, thinking to myself that this was certainly paradoxical, because it was NOT actually her cheese dip.  I was the one who ordered it and gave it to her, and I would pay for it with my own money.  You see, my little 5-year-old munchkin viewed cheese dip as a precious commodity, and in this moment, she had a completely skewed understanding of where it came from.

What struck me later, as I was thinking about how to address the heart condition behind her outburst, was a keen sense of how easy it is for me to have the very same attitude towards my Heavenly Father.  While I may not have an observable anger flare-up over cheese dip at a restaurant, I might struggle with generously and obediently sharing those resources that I view as precious.  I might be thinking, “But God, I already gave 10% of my income away this year, how much more are you going to ask of me?”  Or, “God, I already volunteer so much of my time and energy for good causes, are you really going to ask me to serve this pestering and overly-needy individual?”

When I find myself having a hard time trusting God with ALL of my resources and walking in obedience to the Spirit’s prompting, it’s often because my view of ownership is off kilter.  You see, God created our world.  He gave us our time, our energy, our ability to work, and all of our material possessions.  He is the source of everything we have.  He owns it all, and He has generously shared those resources with us.  When I can re-orient my perspective in line with this truth, it changes everything.  I can be generous because He is my source, and He is generous.  I can be obedient because I know that I can trust Him to refresh every resource I use in His service.  May I allow His Word to correct my perspective about giving:

The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours—you created it all.

Psalm 89:11

Think About:  How could viewing your finances through the perspective that God owns it all affect your giving?  Do you fully trust that God has unlimited resources at his disposal?  Would you be willing to trust Him to refresh you in every way that you give?

Pray:  Father God, I confess that many times I’ve had a distorted perspective of ownership.  I’ve been stingy and greedy because I’ve not realized how generous you truly are.  Enable me to give from your unending resources, rather than viewing it through my limited fleshly perspective. 

/JenniferGreene

River Community Church