Last week, we began a series on what the Bible says about money and I pointed out that Scripture is clear on four major points when it comes to our money and possessions.
In part two of this series, we’ll talk more about the first point, which will completely change your life if properly understood and applied to your personal finances.
The first thing Scripture is clear about as it relates to our money and possessions is this…
God owns everything.
When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.
Rather than try to convince you of this important Biblical truth myself, let’s take a look at some places in Scripture that illustrate God’s ownership of all things, including our money and possessions, and you can decide for yourself what you think the Bible says about money.
God owns all of creation
Early on in the Old Testament (Genesis 1-2) we see God declare His ownership over all creation by…wait for it…creating it!
But if the creation account in Genesis isn’t enough, it isn’t long before we see Abraham (one of the most prominent figures of the Old Testament, who was known as “Abram” at that time), declare to the King of Sodom that God is the “…possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:22, ESV).
Abraham wasn’t alone in his belief of God owning everything.
In the book of Exodus we see Charlton Heston…err…I mean Moses…talking to Pharaoh. We enter the story at the point where Pharaoh is pleading with Moses to ask God to stop the plagues that the Lord had sent out upon Egypt.
Here’s what Moses said in response to Pharaoh’s pleading…
As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s.
Exodus 9:29, ESV
And just 10 chapters later in Exodus we see God himself say to Moses and the nation of Israel, “…for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5, ESV).
Later on in the Old Testament, we see the psalmist proclaim…
The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it.
Psalm 24:1, NASB
These are just a few examples in the Old Testament of God demonstrating his ownership of all of creation, but what about specific things in creation, like money?
God owns specific things, including our money
In other places throughout Scripture, we see God’s ownership and possession of specific things like…
- Heaven and earth (Deuteronomy 10:14, Job 41:11)
- The nations (Psalm 82:8)
- The peaks of the mountains, the sea, and the land (Leviticus 25:23, Psalm 95:4-5)
God even claims ownership of the animals on planet earth…
For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the fields is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the whole world is mine, and all it contains.
Psalm 50:10-12, NASB
But what about money in particular? Does God specifically claim he is the true owner of OUR money?
I think so.
Just look at these words of the Lord spoken through the Old Testament prophet Haggai…
The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts.
Haggai 2:8, ESV
Now, some people might say, “That’s all well and good Tyler, but I’m an American. God might “own” everything, but I built my wealth by my own hard work and sacrifice.”
To which I’d reply…
“Not so fast!”
We would be wise to listen to what God said to the nation of Israel about this type of attitude, which we are all prone to, particularly in our independent, western, “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” culture…
You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…
Deuteronomy 8:18, ESV
Obviously, these words were spoken to Old Testament Israel several thousand years ago, but I hardly think it’s a stretch to say that the principle applies to us today, especially when taking into account the totality of Scripture on the subject of God’s ownership over all things.
Just look at the Apostle Paul’s statement to the church in Rome in the New Testament…
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Romans 11:36, ESV
Or as the old hymn rightly proclaims…
♪ He’s got the whole world…in His hands ♪
But what does this mean for me?
This just scratches the surface of what the Bible says about God’s ownership of all creation. But what does it mean for our lives today and, specifically, what does it mean for how we handle money?
Well, since we’re talking about what the Bible says about money, let me answer this question with a modern day parable.
Imagine you’re asked by a close friend to keep an eye on their house while he and his wife are out of town on vacation for a couple of weeks. After they leave, you decide to make some changes.
You pay a contractor to do the following…
- Change the paint color in their living room
- Remodel their kitchen
- Fill in their pool with concrete
Shortly after the contractor finishes his renovations, your friend and his wife return home at the end of their trip and when they walk into the house their jaws drop.
“What have you done to our house?” your friend asks in utter disbelief.
You reply, “Oh, well I wanted to change a few things up. I think it looks much better now.”
“But it’s not your house!” your friend exclaims.
You respond, completely confused, “What do you mean it’s not my house? I’ve been living in it for the last two weeks!”
This is exactly the way many of us feel the first time we discover our money and our possessions are not our own. We think because we touch, feel, use, and spend our money and possessions that we are the true owners.
But we aren’t owners in the real sense of the word. As the old saying goes, “There are no U-Hauls behind hearses.”
In light if this, we have two options:
- 1. We can ignore this reality and try to manage our money and possessions as though they were our own. This typically means you will “…lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19, ESV). If we ignore the truth that God owns everything, then in 10, 20, 50, or at most 100 or so years after we’re gone, the things we spent our time and money on will long be forgotten.
- 2. The other option is to humble ourselves under the fact that when it’s all said and done, we don’t own anything, God does. (This is the secret to wise financial decisions. Read more about this “secret” in this post.) This allows us to take comfort in the fact that God is in control of the circumstances of our lives and that our role is to exercise good stewardship of the money and possessions he has entrusted us with during our short time here on Earth. If we use our money with this in mind, the things we spend our time and money on will have an impact long after we’re gone…eternity.
I know which one sounds like the better option to me and in the next post we’ll learn more about what stewardship really is and what it means when it comes to managing our money.
Until then, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email with your thoughts!