“For everything in heaven and earth is yours . . . Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” – 1 Chronicles 29:11, 14 (NIV)
It isn’t often separate readings during my quiet time combine to tell me the same thing, but that’s what happened one Friday morning a few weeks ago.
First, Psalm 24:1 jumped out at me: “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it.”
Then the daily devotional reading by A. W. Tozer challenged me in an area I’d rather avoid. “There is no limit to what God can do in this world if we would dare to surrender before Him with a commitment like this,” he wrote. And then he included a prayer in which those who prayed gave all they had back to God: self, family, business, possessions.
“Take it all, Lord.”
Uh . . . all? Like in everything? Didn’t I just give my ministries and service back to Him not too long ago? And my family years ago. And myself—decades ago. Didn’t God and I have that settled?
“Take it all, Lord.”
Everything, Lord? Like my beautiful house, which we finally finished after 35 years? My shiny, ruby red F-150, which pulls our camper? My clothes . . . Okay, You can have my clothes. I need a new wardrobe anyway.
Well, I don’t need one, but I sure would like some new duds for church on Sunday. And some nice, soft, cotton, long-sleeve tops and comfy pants to wear while I work at my computer at home. And a new winter coat. You know how long I’ve put off getting a new winter coat. The one I have has a broken front zipper and the buttons don’t stay buttoned.
But I put all that on my Christmas list. I just marked the pages in the L.L. Bean catalog and wrote down the colors and size, as my husband told me to do. It’ll make Christmas shopping a lot easier for him.
I didn’t even pray for God to make me willing to be made willing. I gulped (really, I did) and, with not a little trepidation and hesitation, prayed the prayer, surrendering all to Him.
Funny thing. I’d barely breathed the “Amen” when it hit me: I wasn’t giving God anything that wasn’t His to begin with. Everything I have He has given to me—not to own, because it’s all still His—but to use. For myself and for others.
He blesses me that I may bless others.
When King David prayed the prayer in today’s Scripture reading, he was blown away by the people’s generous donations for the construction of the temple. David himself had given much from his personal coffers. And, being king and all, he wasn’t poor.
But in his prayer, he acknowledged that “everything in heaven and earth is yours”—note everything—and that they had given only what God had given to them.
A far cry from our attitude today. Our stuff is our stuff. Not God’s. Maybe He gave it to us, but it’s all ours now. Right?
Jesus told us where we would find true riches—riches that moth and rust cannot destroy, stored where thieves cannot break in. Our true riches are in heaven. Our real treasure is heaven.
Everything else is just stuff.
Thank you, Father, for reminding me that there is only one thing I need—You. And if I have You, I have everything. Amen.
Extra tea: Read and meditate on 1 Chronicles 29:10–20; Matthew 6:19–24