The first verse of Psalm 24 reminds us that everything – from the greatest to the least of all creations – belongs to God: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” My second favourite Rabbi (my favourite is of course Jesus) writes that it is the custom for Jews to write this verse on the inside of books, just above where the owner’s name might be written. It serves as a constant reminder that everything we own doesn’t really belong to us. Whatever we possess is simply on loan from God in order to help us reach our goals and fulfill our destiny.
If you really stop to think about God owning everything, you start to view everything a little differently. When we see a tree, we would remember that it belongs to God, so how could we damage it and not take care of it? When we see majestic mountains that awe and inspire us, we would remember that they are the possessions of God Almighty who can do with them whatever He pleases. Knowing that a particularly beautiful sunrise, or sunset was created by God for our enjoyment should fill us with a tremendous sense of love and being loved by our Creator.
This desk I am sitting at belongs to God. For what purpose has He supplied me with it and how might I use it well? The computer I write this on is God’s, too. He has given me the gift of communication with those far away. I should never use it to speak badly about His children! I use it instead to serve His purposes! My material belongings have been hugely reduced recently, but people have always meant far more to me than material belongings. The enemy messed up there, because all reducing my material goods does is free me to go wherever God wants to use me. I know that wherever He chooses to place me, He will provide for me.
As Christians we do not even own ourselves, Christ paid a heavy price for us on the cross, having accepted that exchange we are sons and daughters of God, and we belong to Him, not merely as slaves and servants but as his children. God built us in our mother's womb's, for our talents and skills and all the blessings we have, we need to thank Him, as I heard it put once, the only thing we own ourselves is our mistakes.
Taking that thought to its full conclusion, our children are God’s and He has entrusted us to guide and protect them. Our spouses belong to God and are a gift of partnership in our lives. Our brothers and sisters in Christ, also all belong to God. Even that person who is so difficult to get along with – he or she is also one of God’s children and must be treated accordingly. How dare we mistreat, hurt or deliberately damage in any way God's property, and especially his children. When you offend against one of the least of these, you offend against God, and need to ask His forgiveness, and if possible put things right. Those who offend against us and ask our forgiveness and even those who ask us for handouts, they, too, belong to God. How can we refuse them?