The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox.
“The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)
A few years ago when we were enjoying a bit of “February summer,” I took off with my three youngest into the woods around our house. We hiked for nearly two hours, got totally lost and had to find a creek and follow it until we found a road we recognized. We saw lots of flora and fauna, spotted a few deer stands, took a rest once as we sat on a deadfall tree and then laughed at each other as we tried to balance on it like we were trying out for the Beijing Olympics. It was a wonderful break from the normal routines of work and chores, and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the woods with my kids.
When we were following the creek to find a landmark we would recognize, we came up behind a house. I say “behind” the house: it was at least 300 yards from us. Between us and the house was what looked like a little private landfill, with some old appliances and tires that had been tossed onto a pile. There was lots of undergrowth, some trees, and then the yard of this house started. So, you get the picture? We were not really anywhere near the house, just passing along behind it in the woods. As we laughed and walked along beside the gently flowing creek, my eye caught movement. I looked up to see a man who appeared to be in his 60s, hustling toward us as though he were on a mission. He kept his eye on us as he made his way from the house and across the back yard. I could tell he wanted to say something to us, so I stopped walking and motioned for my three children to stop. “Hello! How are you?” I called out to the stranger with a smile on my face.
“This is posted land,” he said, grimly. “You need to move on off of it.”
“That’s what we’re doing,” I said, again with a smile. But my heart sank as I stood there with my 6-year old daughter, and two sons ages 12 and 10. I mean, we didn’t exactly look like a rookie league for the Hell’s Angels, searching for a house to burn down as an initiation rite. We were a middle-aged man with three kids, on a hike in the woods, for crying out loud! The rebel in me rose up for just a moment, and I had to bite my tongue as I resisted saying something I shouldn’t to this poor man. I just said, “Let’s go, guys,” and we walked on.
I thought about what the Bible says: “The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” The truth is, with all due respect to Woody Guthrie, this land is not your land or my land. It is His land. The Lord owns it all.
One of the most exciting transformations happens when we ‘transfer ownership’ of all of our stuff, including our land and our house and our health and our money, to the Lord. When we give back to Him what is rightfully His, not only will He use it for His own glory, but the Lord will give us great delight in holding things loosely and loving Him and His people lavishly.
Miserliness shrivels a man’s heart, but generosity enlarges a man’s soul.
Prayer: “O Lord, make me a giver, like You are a giver!”
Action: Transfer ownership of your property into the Lord’s name and talk to your children about the meaning of being a good steward.