Exodus 19:5 “all the earth is mine”
Malachi 3:8-10 “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”
Do you realize that absolutely everything on the face of the earth belongs to God? That includes you and me, and everything else we “possess.” Everything we “own” is nothing more than a gift from God for which we are responsible as stewards. Yet, in the verses from Malachi above, we see that not everything we have in our possession is actually ours legitimately. Just like for any other thief, there may be things in our possession that are actually the result of robbery, i.e., robbery from God.
Throughout scriptures we are given accounts of a master giving his servants talents, i.e., money, that they are to put to work for Him. In each of these accounts the money is the Master’s and the servants are responsible to use what has been given them to benefit the Master in the end. We are told of those who do just that and thereby produce returns of varying amounts. These servants are afterwards blessed for their diligence. Others, we are told, do nothing but hide their money, and do nothing of value with it, i.e., nothing of value from the Master’s perspective. In each story like this, those servants are rebuked for their laziness.
So, what are you and I doing with what we “possess?” Are we storing it up for ourselves, i.e., laying up treasures for ourselves on earth? Jesus warned us that to do so puts us at great risk, for to do so is to place our riches in a place where moths and rust corrupt and thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19). To do so is putting the gifts He has given us at risk and wasting the very possessions that the Master has given to us to put to good use for Him.
God is looking for our gifts to come back to Him with interest, i.e., increased value because of how we’ve used them. The very best thing we can do is lay up these treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust don’t corrupt and thieves can’t break in and steal. We do this by using whatever God has given to us for His glory. We are told that whether we eat (the food given to us), or drink (the water that has been given to us), or whatever we do (with whatever other physical or spiritual gifts that have been given to us), we are to do it all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). We do this by sharing what we have with others in need, by being thankful for everything God has blessed us with, by giving back to His work in tithes and offerings, and by using the abilities God has given us to serve His body and love our neighbor. To fail to do this is to keep back from God – more than that, it is to rob God of what is rightfully His all along.
In the end, at the time of reckoning before our Master, all the stuff we’ve kept back for ourselves will be taken from us – for it’s rightfully His. And in the end, He has promised those who have been faithful with the gifts that He’s given them that He will give them even more – actually much, much more. Seems like it always comes back to this. In the words of the martyr Jim Elliott, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” But he is a great fool who tries to hoard the things he or she has been given by God to be used to glorify Him in a selfish effort to benefit and glorify only themselves. Such a person is in all reality nothing more than a thief. How foolish to rob from a God who can see our every action every moment of every day. In the end, such persons rob only themselves of the precious gifts of God.