"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." – Genesis 1:1
The most definitive statement one can make about the world is that everything belongs to God. As the creator and sustainer of all, God is the unquestioned owner of it all. Accordingly, God can do with it whatever he wishes. Scripture shows us God's desire from the very beginning is for humanity to be the steward or caretaker of His creation. We read in Genesis 2:15 – "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it." There's no mention of a transfer of ownership or anything of the sort. God's unchanging intention is that men and women will steward his creation.
The biblical principle of God's ownership and our stewardship has several implications. First, our primary responsibility is to handle resources the way God desires and not as we may want. Sometimes, the two desires may be the same, but God's will must prevail when they differ. This tug-of-war separates those who are all-in for God from those who just want to stick their toe in the water. Being all-in may still present its struggles, but there is more freedom in submitting to the Lordship of Christ.
Second, God is free to ask for his resources and in any amount he chooses. After all, it's his stuff. We are simply privileged to take care of it. Just as we would expect a money manager to deliver our resources upon request, so God has the right to ask for his stuff. Those who've walked with God for a while know he sometimes asks at seemingly inopportune moments. In retrospect, though, we discover He graciously provided us with another opportunity to grow in our faith.
Finally, as stewards, we'll be required to give an accounting for how we used God's resources. God is interested in what we are doing with his property, and it's only fair that we are called to account. When we die, the only thing we'll take with us is a record of how well or how poorly we managed God's possessions.
What about you? Does your life reflect the principle of God's ownership and our stewardship? How so? What do the implications of this principle mean for you? Are you prepared to give an accounting of your stewardship?