It all Belongs to God
Rachel Billups | Psalm 24
Worrying about finances isn’t limited to those in lower income brackets. No! Worrying about money is an equal opportunity annoyer. We plan, pray, prepare, and all of that is great, but doesn’t change the fact that our culture is chalk-full of financial anxiety!
Maybe it’s time we redefine what it means to be “rich”.
In this series of blogs, we’ll explore four essential principles to ensure generous living:
- It all belongs to God
- Manage Money Well
- Generosity Changes Us
- Generosity Changes the World
It All Belongs To God
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:1-6 NIV).
Say that with me, it all belongs to God.
To help us with this concept, let’s look at our money through three important lenses.
Lens one: WORSHIP.
The earth is the Lords and everything in it.
You almost get the sense that David, when writing Psalm 24, understands that this is the God of the universe. This zoomed out view of the earth. That cosmic, creation-like narrative moves quickly to the worship of God.
“Who may ascend the mountain or the Lord? Who may stand in this holy space?”
The Hebrew word for mountain is, har, meaning hill or mountain, a space that takes us back to places like Mt. Horeb and God’s giving of the 10 commandments or Mt. Zion, or even the Temple Mount. David was making a direct connection between everything on the earth belonging to God and our breath-taking, awe-inspiring worship of that same God.
Sometimes we get confused in Christian circles and equate worship with singing. Or even limit worship to what we do for the 58 minutes on a Sunday morning or even as a participant on demand.
Worship is so much bigger than that… so much deeper than that.
The worship of God is about who you are and whose you are. It’s zooming out to realize there is a God and you’re not it. It’s waking up each day and realizing we are not alone, that we join God each day in a divine dance along with a vast body of believers. And worship is ultimately when we begin to rest in that bigger picture – begin to unclench our tight little fists and dare to unfurl our worried little hearts – risking that the God who created me and you is committed to caring for every little need we have.
Worship is a journey of surrender – tough at first to let go but ultimately leading to a sense of freedom and a new way of responding to our creator God.
Lens two: JUSTICE
“The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god” (Psalm 24: 4 NIV).
Generosity isn’t only our hearts, it’s our hands as well—clean hands!
Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Those listening were confused and said, what do you mean Jesus? We didn’t see you naked, hungry, sick or homeless while we were out and about doing good. And Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25: 35-36; 40 NIV).
Jesus was making a connection between what we believe, how we worship God and what we do with our actual daily lives: time, talents and treasures.
“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8 NIV).
This reflects back on what it means to have clean hands, what true worship and generosity looks like.
Many times, when Jesus talked about money, he talked about the fair distribution of wealth– who is being left out, who’s not invited to the table… And so we ask, how can we be a part of God’s solution to the brokenness and hurt we experience in the world?
We aren’t called to hoard time and resources to ourselves, but rather freely share what has already been shared with us!
If someone is suffering in the world, we all are suffering. We are a part of God’s bigger whole. We are the only bank account that God has.
Lens Three: RESISTANCE
Many of us have a problem. We can’t help but want more.
We are compelled to spend. It’s retail therapy, friends. Amazon nearly always delivers, and we can always pay for it later. So how do we resist our desire for more, bigger, better stuff?
Jesus tells the story of a successful guy who gets caught up in the myth that bigger is always better:
“This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12: 18-21 NIV)
We are bombarded every moment with products that promise life—shampoo that will rejuvenate your hair, mushroom water that will fill you with energy, smart phones that will make everything easier, a new washer that will basically save your life.
Jesus is redefining rich.
When we get caught up in the culture of consumerism, when retail therapy is our go-to, when we’ve got to have the latest, the bigger or the better, we’ve got to check ourselves and ask—am trusting God or I am trusting my stuff to make me feel better?
Resisting the urge to see that Amazon package on your door step every single day, resisting the urge to spend money you don’t have on what you don’t need for someone you don’t even like!
Resistance is sustainable living.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 12-13 NIV)
Understanding that it all belongs to God begins with a heart of worship, the way of justice, and a spirit of resistance.
Next week we’ll dive into the second essential principle to ensure generous living: how to Manage Your Money Well.