“The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all it contains, You have founded them.” (Ps. 89:11)
A foundational principle of Biblical finance is a correct understanding of ownership. The scriptures make clear that God holds a certain ownership over His creation. As we progress through several passages, we will see that the width and depth of God’s rights and jurisdictions exponentially increase.
To begin, God states His ownership of our giving.
“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed thee?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house.” (Malachi 3:8-10)
In the book of Malachi, God’s people were bringing lame, blind, and sick animals to the temple as sacrifices. The Lord describes the withholding of proper tithes and offerings as robbery, an enlightening definition for a believer. “Robbery,” means taking something that belongs to someone else. By using such terminology, God is claiming rightful ownership over our tithes and offerings.
This concept was also taught by our Savior. When the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus on the issue of taxation, He responded, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matt 22:17-21) In a monetary context, Jesus asserts that there are funds that rightly belong to God. A Christian should view a portion of his assets as the Lord’s. The following passage also illustrates this principle:
“But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You…O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.” (1 Chron. 29:14,16)
In this passage David states, “From Your hand we have given You.” David acknowledges that all these resources came first from God’s own hand and that they were only returning what first belonged to Him. This mindset raises giving and financial management in general to a higher plane. The necessity for Godly stewardship is increased when one views money as the Lord’s possession.
We have clearly established that the funds we are to give belong to the Lord, but what are we to think of the money that remains? In the previous passage from 1 Chronicles, David also asserts, “All things come from You...all is Yours.” David is convinced that not only their offerings, but all things have come from and belong to God. Consulting the whole counsel of scripture, it is a much more convincing argument to consider not only our tithes and offerings as the Lord’s, but everything.
“All the earth is Mine.” (Ex. 19:5)
“The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:8)
“Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.” (Deu. 10:14)
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone.” (1 Chron. 29:11-12)
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” (Rom. 11:36)
“The earth is the LORD'S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” (Ps. 24:1)
“For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations.” (Ps. 82:8)
“In whose hand are the depths of the earth, the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it, and His hands formed the dry land.” (Ps. 95:4-5)
“I, the LORD, am the maker of all things.” (Is.44:24)
“A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)
Everything belongs to the Lord, and the world is His creation. He is the Maker, Owner, and Ruler of all things. Nothing we have or will ever have comes from any source but Him. Many financial lessons can be learned from the simple realization that everything belongs to the Lord. Let us begin to view “our” money not as our own, but as God’s resources entrusted to our management.
The implications and accountability of this principle are broad and deep. The believer who fully realizes this concept will respond with much more diligent and responsible financial management. We would not squander money that belonged to a friend, family member, or employer. Applying this same analogy, how much more careful should a believer be with the resources that belong to the Maker of heaven and earth? A Christian truly convinced of God’s ownership finds it nearly impossible to be frivolous and irresponsible with the Lord’s money.
Still not convinced? Here’s one last argument. Not only does the Lord own all your resources, He owns you.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
“For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” (Rom. 14:7-8)
“The God to whom I belong and whom I serve.” (Acts 27:23)
“You belong to Christ.” (1 Cor. 3:23; See Also: Gal 3:29, 5:24)
Christian, you are God’s. It is only fitting that your money belongs to Him as well.
“Who has given to Me that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.” (Job 41:11)
When we view our money not as our own but as a resource belonging to God entrusted to our management, our financial decisions take on much greater importance. Everything belongs to the Lord. The following phrase ties much of the ideas of this chapter together: “If you think you own your possessions, they own you.” The Christian who thinks, “I have worked hard for my money, so I am going to do what I want to do with it,” is displaying an immature approach to his finances, and ultimately, his faith. As we begin to understand God’s ownership, we begin to handle money with Godly purpose and responsibility.