Owning a piece of land was our goal, too, when we moved to this part of the state. I remember when we finally signed the papers and came out to make plans for our new home site. Walking on this ground was suddenly different. Every place we put our feet was ours, or was it?
We have done our best to be good stewards of this land, this loan from God. Stewardship is what being green is all about. We used this ground for our family’s sustenance. We raised pigs for their meat and chickens for their eggs. We grew a large vegetable garden, and a little herb garden closer to the kitchen. We planted grapevines and blueberry bushes and several kinds of fruit trees.
We also tried to make the world a more beautiful place. We transplanted azaleas, jasmine, roses, and lilies, and have added an amaryllis bed, a trellis of six different flowering vines, wildflowers in the field, and annuals here and there.
We have used it to create a loving home for our children. Keith and the boys built a doghouse for all the various family pets. In the early days they put up a swing set. Later they set a basketball goal in the field. They put together a backboard to act as catcher in their three-man baseball game (pitcher-batter-fielder), and hauled in dirt from the back corner of the property to make a pitcher’s mound. We tried to make this possession of ours a good place, a useful place. We tried to make it more than just a has-been watermelon field.
You are God’s possession. He told his people at least twice in Deuteronomy, “You are my treasured possession.” We have this tendency to say, “It’s my life; I can do as I please.” No it isn’t, and no you can’t. You belong to God.
Maybe it is more difficult for us in our culture. We do not understand belonging to a person. That is slavery, something this country paid a huge price to rid itself of. But those ancient people did understand. I found two places in the Old Testament where men told other men, “We are yours.” (2 Kings 10:5; 1 Chron 12:18) They added comments like, “We are on your side,” and “We will do all you say to do.” Do you think God asks any less of us?
Even when we understand that, we limit it, and try to make it sound better for being so: as long as my heart is for God, nothing else matters. You cannot compartmentalize your devotion to God. YOU belong to God, not just your heart, not just your actions, not just your words or your time or your money—all of you, even your physical body. “It is He who has made us and not we ourselves” Psalm 100:3. Of course we are his possession.
Paul reminds us of the same thing in his argument against one particular sin. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid, 1 Cor 6:13,15.
What we do with our bodies does matter. Just as the two of us would be angry for anyone to use our piece of land for something sinful, God is angry when we use his possession for sins of the flesh. Just as we want to make the best use of this land for as long as possible, God expects us to care for his possession so that it will be useful to him for as long as possible.
Taking care of God’s possession, our bodies, involves far more than the usual abstinence from smoking, drugs, and liquor we usually associate with this concept. Especially as we grow older, ailments happen. Sometimes its genetics, but sometimes it’s because we didn’t take care of ourselves the years before. Staying healthy for as long as possible is the least we owe God, but usually the last thing we think about.
And after illnesses come about, do you follow your doctor’s instructions? I am simply amazed when my doctors ask me if I take my medicine regularly, and if I can handle the discomfort they cause. Evidently some people can’t—or won’t. The medicine tastes bad, or the eye drops burn, or it’s too much trouble to remember. We have turned into a nation of whiners.
We aren’t put here to play. We are put here for our master’s use. “We were bought with a price,” Paul says. Is the Lord getting his money’s worth out of you?
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1Cor 6:19-20