When a person comes of age, especially upon graduating college, getting that first job and possibly even getting married, the all import question arises: should we rent or should we buy. Renting provides flexibility and lower overall costs, while buying build equity and provides tax benefits, among other pros and cons for both.
Another argument for owning is that when a person owns something, they usually take better care of it than when they rent. There is pride in ownership that doesn’t come from the feeling that you are simply borrowing something that belongs to someone else. Certainly there are those who buck that trend, but landlords in general will tell you that tenants don’t usually care for a house the way they would.
But this isn’t what I want to focus on in regards to the idea of renting and owning. Rather, it’s the idea that this life only offers us the option of renting. This life only offers us the opportunity to take care of something that will eventually belong to someone else or be discarded in a pile of junk. Everything that comes through our hands, whether money or something money can buy, is something God has entrusted to our care.
The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.
~ Psalm 24:1
Read that verse again.
The earth and everything in it. God owns it all. The deed to everything this world has to offer has God’s name on it, not ours. This includes people, this includes our talents, this includes time. It includes nature, animals & energy. Anything you can think of, God owns it, not us. In essence, we are tenants, simply borrowing that which belongs to God.
Seeing the world this way should have a few implications on how we approach this life God has given us.
- Resist the temptation to view anything as our own. It’s so easy to believe that something is ours, especially tangible items. A person’s home may have a deed (and a mortgage, most likely) in that person’s name, but that home will one day belong to someone else. All of our prized possessions today may end up in a landfill tomorrow. Even our kids don’t belong to us, but are entrusted to our care to nurture and train in the ways of the Lord. They will always be our kids, but people never own other people. So let’s not get attached to our stuff, and let’s willingly let others use that which God has entrusted to us.
- Be generous while we can. If today is our last day on this earth, will people say we were generous with what we had? A lot of people think they will get around to being generous later in life when they have more money. The truth is, none of us know how much time we have or how much money we will make down the road, so let’s not wait to start giving away that which God has given us.
- Remember, none of this is going with us when our time is up, nor is anyone else bringing it with them when their time is up. It’s all staying here anyway, so it’s best to get used to letting go of that which God has entrusted to us. Let’s get in the habit of purging things we no longer use and find ways to give it to those who could use it. No amount of money or house size or wardrobe is worth enough to make the trip into eternity with us.
- We need to pursue excellence in how we care for that which God has entrusted to us, especially when it comes to people. If God gives us a home, take care of it. If God gives us a car, keep it running and looking good. If God brings people into our lives, let’s demonstrate the love of Jesus in the hope of giving them the one thing they actually can take with them when their time is up: a relationship with Jesus and eternity with Him in heaven when they die. With our kids whom God has entrusted to our care, let’s care for them with everything ounce of energy we have.
This is the only way to live with a true understanding of net worth.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.