Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Thoughts from Richard Foster

Our home is full of anticipation this year - of the gifts we'll be giving, receiving, and the special time together. And the anticipation seems to be True Anticipation, not simple greed.

I've been working through "Seeking the Kingdom - Devotions for the Daily Journey of Faith" by Richard Foster during Advent. (I love Richard Foster's writing, and am challenged to the core of me - but in a non-religious, non-legalistic way. The grace in the truth he writes is so anointed.)

Here is what I read this morning:

"There is hardly anything more clear in the Bible than God's absolute right to property.... (Job 41:11, Exod. 19:5-6, Ps. 24:1)...

We moderns find it difficult to identify with this teaching. Much of our training draws from the Roman view that ownership is a 'natural right'. Hence the very idea that anything or anyone can infringe upon our 'property rights' feels alien to our view. This coupled with our seemingly innate self-centeredness, means that for us, 'property rights' tend to take precedence over 'human rights'.

In the Bible, however, God's absolute rights as owner and our relative rights as stewards are unmistakably clear. (Deut 14:28-29, Exod. 23:11, Lev. 25:23)...

God's ownership of all things actually enhances our relationship with him. When we know - truly know- that the earth is the Lord's property itself makes us more aware of God. For example, if we were staying in and caring for the vacation home of a famous actress, we would be reminded of her daily by the very fact of living in her home. A thousand things would bring her presence to mind. So it is in our relationship with God. The house we live in is his house, the car we drive is his car, the garden we plant is his garden. We are only temporary stewards of things that belong to Another.

Being aware of God's ownership can free us from a possessive and anxious spirit. After we have done what we can to care for those things that have been entrusted to us, we know that they are in bigger hands than ours. When John Wesley heard that his home had been destroyed by fire, he exclaimed, 'The Lord's house burned. One less responsibility for me!'

God's ownership of everyting also changes the kinds of question we ask in giving. Rather than, 'How much of my money should I give to God?' we learn to ask 'How much of God's money should I keep for myself?' The difference between these two questions is of monumental proportions."

(Richard Foster, Seeking the Kingdom, pg. 76-78)

What a great reminder this reading is a week before Christmas! An invitation to celebrate all the good gifts we receive as His Stewards.

1 comment:

Renee said...

Ah, another Richard Foster book to read. I'm still working through "The Freedom of Simplicity", getting a little bogged down...