It’s All God’s

Contributing Writer
Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY

When I began my ministry at my current congregation we had weekly issues with our Boy Scout troop. I’d arrive on Thursday morning, the morning after their weekly meeting, to find the bathrooms a disaster, furniture out of place, lights on, miscellaneous items broken and things in disarray. When I confronted the troop leader about some of our frustrations he replied, “No worries, pastor, we’ll care for this place like its our own.” (I didn’t like that.)

“Please, do not do that,” I replied. “Do not treat this place like it’s yours. Treat it like it’s ours; treat it like it is God’s.”

Treat it like it’s God’s.

I’ve been blessed and lucky enough in life to borrow things that belong to someone else. I’ve borrowed a friend’s truck to move furniture. I’ve vacationed in the homes of our friends and family. I’ve rented tools and borrowed clothes. In each instance – when I’ve found myself responsible for something that didn’t belong to me – I found myself living differently. I’ve found myself more vigilant and trustworthy. I drive other peoples’ cars much safer than I drive my own. I keep other peoples’ homes cleaner than I keep my own. There’s something about that – about being accountable for the belongings of others – that makes you more conscientious, cautious and careful.

Treat it like it’s God’s.

Imagine for a moment that you had to drive your friend’s car to work. Would you drive more carefully? Imagine having to live in a co-worker’s home for a week, would you live differently? Imagine having to pick your clothes from someone else’s closet or grabbing your food from your neighbor’s fridge, would your life be the same?

I suspect that that would change things for many of us. (That mindset certainly changed things for our Boy Scout troop, who are now amazing stewards of our property and building). When we see ourselves as borrowers, renters, or (in Biblical terms) stewards, it changes the way we live.

Treat it like it’s God’s.

Everything we have is God’s. It is all gift. It has been entrusted to us with the hope that we will care for it. Unfortunately, for this world and everything in it, so often we treat it like it’s ours. We exhaust resources. We are leaving the world in worse shape than we found it. We consider most of the things in our life as ours to be exploited for our purposes. We hoard. We neglect. We exploit. We lavish ourselves and offer leftovers to our neighbor.

This is not how we are called to live. Rather, in scripture God is clear that we are but stewards of the world around us. We are invited to stop treating everything like it’s ours alone. We are encouraged to remember that it is ours together. And more than anything, it is God’s.

Treat it like it’s God’s.

St. Paul writes, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” II Cor. 9:6-8

It’s all gift. It’s all God’s. That is what we give thanks for this week and that is how we should live all year.

In the Way,
PSDH

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.