What Owns You?

–Albert Schweitzer

It is likely that most everyone has experienced a battle when attempting to part with precious possessions; yet, valuing and enjoying material things is not wrong in itself. Our Heavenly Father desires that we enjoy the good and perfect gifts He provides (James 1:17). The question we need to ask is, “Does this thing ‘own’ me—have I made it an idol in my life?” It has been proposed by various scholars and theologians that perhaps every form of sin can ultimately be traced back to idolatry, which can be defined as:

“Idolatry is essentially the worship of that which we make, rather than of our Maker” (Dr. Thomas Constable).

“Idols are…anything that takes our heart’s allegiance away from the One True God” (David Guzik).

It is at this point we would do well to examine our priorities and ask two more questions, “What level of value am I placing on this possession? Can I still be happy and contented if I give it up?” Throughout the decades that I engaged in the primitive antique/craft business, I must admit that there were times I struggled greatly when selling (parting with) one-of-a-kind, valuable antiques. Later on for example, I might discover that the very one I just sold would have been perfect for my newly remodeled kitchen—and it was impossible to find another one like it : ) ! It was evident to me even then that I needed to deal with those types of regrets and desires; always being diligent that none of those things turned into idols.

However, as I matured in my walk with the Lord, I came to realize that other things could more subtly steal a believer’s focus from the Lord, for instance: Comfort; pleasures, education, intelligence, sports, celebrities, vocation, social position, luxuries, appetite, and even family. Yes, any of these could be God-given blessings and enrichment in people’s lives ( Matthew 7:11); however, they must stay in their proper place/priority, and the Lord must remain preeminent. That way, we will truly be able to enjoy the abundant life Jesus promised (John 10:10).