“The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.” (Lev. 25:23)
Everything belongs to God. Often a first step in handling finances from a biblical perspective, a Christian must recognize that the “world and all it contains” belongs to God (Ps. 89:11). Pretty elementary so far, but when I read this passage from the Old Testament I realized another dynamic of biblical ownership. I reflected over the words “permanently” and “aliens…sojourners” for quite awhile. This summer my dad went home to His heavenly Father, and I experienced the death of a loved one for the first time in my life. Among countless other ways that such an event can shape you, I think it gave me an entirely different perspective on possessions. After my dad passed, we had to go through the process of sorting everything from his car to his clothes. A little eerie and awkward I will admit, but there was something strange about seeing my dad’s stuff still around after he was gone. Not too long after, I came across this verse.
First the word “permanently” caught my eye. I have seen first hand that our life here on earth is not permanent. The land, the inheritance of Israel, lasted a lot longer than any one man’s claim. The Bible is abundantly clear in this area. We are told that we are “just a vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes away.” (James 4:14) Therefore, the rightful owner of the land must be someone who doesn’t lose possession with death, debt, or sale.
Secondly, the words “aliens…sojourners” made their way into my wandering subconscience. It really is a perfect description of the biblical perspective: This is not our home, we are here temporarily until He returns or calls us home. This is why Jesus calls us to spend our time and energy investing in heaven. (Matt. 6:20)
Strange as it sounds to say this: my house, my truck, and many other things I “own” will outlive me. Who knows, one of my old T-shirts might bounce around a few thrift stores and end up in the back of some packrat’s closet and live longer than me! I don’t mean to sound sadistic, but stop by any antique store and you’ll realize that a lot of our possessions have a longer lifespan than us.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how limited my understanding of ownership really was. I, like many other Christians, more or less thought of ownership as something to the effect of: “Well, He is God. He made everything, He sustains everything, so naturally it all belongs to Him.” I always thought of it from a God looking down perspective. As I think about it from a man looking up perspective, I realize just how foolish it is to think that we “own” stuff. If you think I am off here, stop by an estate sale.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe the Bible supports the personal ownership of property, but I am speaking of mindset here. A mentality towards possessions that humbly recognizes that nothing here on earth is permanant and we are sojourners awaiting our heavenly home.