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Saturday, 4 March 2017

GOD: THE OWNER OF ALL

BACKGROUND

God created all things, both living and non-living things. He created man and gave life to man. He owns all things including man. All natural resources and human capabilities flow from Him. He allocates resources to all men and nations by His absolute discretion. As the Owner of all, He expects all to live according to His just expectations . He demands accountability from all His creatures. Because He owns all, He can destroy what He owns if He so wishes. He has that right and power to do so. He owns all, including you.
NOTES ON THE TEXT:

PART 1: FOUNTAIN OF ALL (GEN. 2:1-7 EXO. 19:2-6)

God declares that the whole earth is His. He owns it all. In other words, there is no rival claimant to the ownership of the universe. God created the heaven and the earth and asserts ownership over it. Even though the account of creation is given in detail in Genesis 1:1-31, our chosen texts succinctly show that God is the sole Creator of all things.

King David recognised that God is the Source and Owner of all things when he declares, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty. For all that is in heaven and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come from You. And You reign over all. And in Your hand is power and might. And in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (1 Chro. 29: 11-12). The same King David further expressed unequivocally that “the earth is the LORD’s and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1). Sometimes when you take time to reflect on and acquaint yourself with nature and its self - rejuvenating, self - sustaining existence, you will surely wonder at the unsearchable wisdom of God. Because God owns the lilies and the birds, they do not depend on man to survive. God says, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains. And the wild beasts of the fields are Mine” (Ps. 50: 10-11). God feeds and takes care of all His creatures, including man, even you.

God says even silver and gold are His (Haggai 2:8)! You and everything you claim to have, actually belong to God. So you don’t really own yourself, and you may not abuse your body and destiny. You belong to God. Your money, talents, skills and other resources come from God and you are subject to His overall control. The parable of the rich fool in Lk.12:16 - 31 explains God’s ultimate ownership and control of all things. This truth is equally stressed by Apostle Paul when he writes; “for we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (ITim.6:7). We met all things here, we use them here and we shall leave them here for the true Owner. We, therefore, need to recognise the Almighty God as the sole Owner of all things.

PART 2: MANAGER OF ALL (LK. 19:11-26, HAG. 2:8)

The parable of the talents shows how the Owner of all things justly allocates His resources. It is all a factor of His absolute discretion. He gave one man five talents, another two talents and to the other He gave only one, but He gave to them according to their God-given abilities. He expects each to put the investments to use and return profits.

Sometimes when one ponders the wisdom of God in distributing natural resources among nations of the world, one can’t but feel the awesomeness of the Almighty. Crude oil (black gold) to some nations, abundant natural gas to other nations; gas to some lands, gold to others, bitumen to some, iron ore, bauxite, precious stones in their various forms and sizes, etc. to some other countries. Some have only vast arable land, very fertile for agricultural activities. Incidentally and indeed ironically, those who find these resources in their domains often depend on the technological know-how of those who don’t have them to explore, exploit and process them into usable final products. If nations will look very keenly around them, they are bound to discover what, God who is the Owner of all, has deposited there for their use and enjoyment. Same thing goes for individual persons God has created. Each person carries within his or her frame and destiny, special natural endowments - talents, latent skills, gifts – given by God for their use and benefit. Some can sing, some can act, some can draw, some can play ball, some can produce things, some can run, some are orators, some have leadership skills, etc. God puts them there. He expects that we put these things to use for our enjoyment and the benefit of others. We only need to look inward to discover what God has invested in us, put it to use and we will survive in our given environment. Thus, there is no room for envy or covetousness. Use your own talents!

It is significant to add that God uses human beings, diverse situations and circumstances to manage and direct what He owns. God created the Garden of Eden, furnished it Himself and gave it to Adam to till and keep it. He was to exercise dominion in the Garden. But after the miserable monumental fall, God evicted him, locked up the place and assigned angels to guard it (Gen. 3:24). If you abuse or misuse the resources God graciously handed over to you, it may be withdrawn or given to another person. God has a way of managing all His resources and creatures.

PART 3: EVALUATOR AND REWARDER OF ALL (ISA. 5:1-7; REV. 22:11-15)

The didactic story in this text convinces us that God oversees the affairs and performance of His creations. A well-watered, adequately protected vineyard planted by the owner was intended to produce pleasant grapes. The owner mobilized sufficient resources within the vineyard to make it satisfy His expectation, which is to bring forth good grapes. Baffled, the owner rhetorically asked, “What more could have been done to my vine yard that I have not done in it? Of course, God pronounced judgment on the vineyard for its disappointing output. He decided to lay it waste, exposed, unkept, desolate, abandoned and dry. All supplies to it were to be withdrawn. Prophet Isaiah says that God is the vineyard owner. The vineyard symbolises Israel and Judah who produce injustice and oppression rather than the expected righteousness and justice.

One of the incidences of ownership is the liberty the owner has to destroy what he owns without attracting any sanction or query. God can destroy anything or any nation that appears to challenge or oppose His authority. He carries out regular assessments of His handiwork and urges a change of attitude, repentance where necessary and enjoins improve-ment. The outcome of His evaluation determines what follows: a reward or punishment. Jesus warns “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give every one according to his work” (Rev. 22:12).

When God wants to evaluate any of His works, He may call for account. For living things other than human beings, no explanation or any plea, instant judgment is pronounced. Remember Jesus’ prono-uncement against the fig tree in Lk. 13:7. For human beings, God will summon him or her to give account such as what happened in the parable of the talents. God is entitled as the owner of all to accounts from us. He will reward faithful servants of His and punish the disobedient.

CONCLUSION

God created all things and all things (animate or inanimate) exist at His pleasure. He owns all resources on earth, underneath the earth and in the seas. He allocates the resources among men and nations purely by His discretion. However, He is fair in the distributions such that no one has any valid reason to complain, grumble, covet or steal. In His own way, He manages all resources – both natural and human. He assesses the works of His hands; He rewards the faithful justly and punishes the deviants harshly. All these He does because He is the Owner of all.

MEMORY VERSE
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. Ps. 24:1 (NKJV)

QUESTIONS
How would you describe God after listening to this lesson?

What does God expect from His creatures?

Why is it unjustifiable to covet or steal?

On what ground would God destroy any creature that He made?

Why may you not abuse your own body or squander the resources at your disposal?


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