The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.
The world and all its people belong to him. (Psalm 24:1)
If you have ever had to make an inventory of your belongings, you were probably surprised by how much you actually own. We tend to underestimate the amount of stuff that we accumulate. I’ve found that nothing helps you to get rid of unneeded or unused items more than an international move.
Our Western world values the idea of ownership and possessions. We measure our worth and value as members of society based on what we own. People pay attention to the kind of car, house or clothing that others have. Among teenagers, the type of smartphone they carry around is a sign of status. Owning the ‘right’ items becomes important in a consumer society.
That’s why it is good to remember how Psalm 24 begins: everything belongs to the Lord. This is his world. We just hold onto some items temporarily. Some of the best things in life are not found on an inventory list. It’s the beauty of the mountains on a sunny day. It’s the joy of spending time with your newborn baby. It’s the gratitude we feel when settled in a quiet place for a moment of prayer. Everything belongs to the Lord and we get to enjoy these things.
Our consumer-orientated world wants to put a price on these moments. Of course, that’s not possible. As followers of Jesus, who believe that everything belongs to the Lord, we must hold our possessions lightly. We do need practical goods in order to live and work, however, our vision of what is important and truly valuable needs to be broader than the narrow definition the world gives us. There is more to life than owning things.