Your Money Isn't Yours

Read that statement over again, if you wish. It's not a misprint. Your money really isn't yours at all.

Crazy? By ordinary standards, yes.

But not by God's standards. For you see, the ordinary conception of our actually possessing money is wrong. We don't truly own anything—our clothing, homes, cars, money, not even our own bodies. We merely have the temporary use of these items. And we can't keep a single one longer than God allows us to draw breath.

Right now, while you're young, is the time to let this great truth sink in. Many individuals get it backwards. They really believe they own wealth. They wind up with their wealth owning them.

Jesus told one story after another to impress us with this truth: We're temporary stewards, or keepers, not final owners.

Mary makes five dollars a week baby-sitting. She's only fourteen. She buys her own clothes, goes to the movies at her own expense, and has some left over. She gives a nickel a week to the church, exactly one eightieth of her income. Is she using her—or rather, God's—money wisely ? From a selfish standpoint she is correct. From a Christian standpoint she's stingy and closefisted.

Johnny makes six dollars a week working in stores after school and on Saturdays. He pledged thirty cents a week to the new Sunday-school building drive and twenty a week to church and Sunday school. He also gives to the various drives put on in his school, such as Red Cross, polio, etc.

Ralph was trained by his parents, who were selfish, never to do anything without pay. Already he's considered a poor one to ask for thankless committee work. In the back of his mind is this big question, put there by his parents: What's in it for me? Besides being a bore, he's trying to fool himself into believing he owns himself.

And believe it or not, we don't even own ourselves. Where did our bodies come from? God gave them to us, using our parents as his means of giving life. Ever consider that our bodies are slowly wearing out and there's no way of stopping them? Someday their physical elements will return to the earth, whence they came. Who will own them then? Certainly not us. We'll be gone.

Jesus' teachings sound exactly backwards. But second thought shows how right he was. We don't own a thing. It all belongs to God. Try to grasp it, and it slips through our fingers.

The wise man uses "his" possessions for God and his fellow man. That's the secret of keeping your wealth. Somebody said, "All we can take with us is what we've given away."

Jesus put it another way nearly two thousand years ago: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." So, you can take it with you, provided you don't consider your wealth yours.

Now is the time to form lifelong habits of stewardship. If you're stingy now, you'll be stingy at fifty. If you're generous now, you'll likely be generous then.

No, that money isn't yours until you give it away! Nor anything else. Jesus gained the world by giving his life. Don't hold back. Give yourself away. That's the real secret of Christian stewardship.

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