Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
Volume 2 Significant Other and Volume 3 A Subversive Movement now also available!
El libro electrónico (en Español) también ya está disponible

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Owning but not possessing

As having nothing, yet possessing everything
(2 Cor. 6:10).

Those words are challenging, from the one who wrote that though poor he was making many rich. Fast forward, and I guess many of us are nearer to ‘owning everything’ and so I suggest we need to do a little reversal of the above:

As owning everything, but possessing nothing.

Our relationship to what we own, now there is a challenge. ‘It’s mine and don’t touch’ just does not cut it for those who follow Paul as he followed Christ. ‘It’s mine and I am going to steward it’ is a major step forward, provided stewardship does not remain in the realm of control.

GIFT. That seems how God operates. He gives. Gift is not charity, though there are many times we need to be respond with ‘charity’, increasingly so as so many have lost jobs and accommodation, and at times with no questions asked. But gift is something beyond that. It is given freely to help a person toward their destiny. Given without guarantee of something coming back personally, even though given with prayer and consideration.

The Jericho principle. At the point of entry to the land that was abundant gift the people received an instruction that was not repeated later. TAKE NOTHING, DO NOT PROFIT at all from the conquest of Jericho. We know the issue that ensued through Achan’s disobedience.

At the point of entry a strong decision not to profit is I believe very key. This has shaped me over years when making an entry to a place. I try to find what I might have profited from and then not touch it. For example, and such a small issue, not to profit from any books sold in another nation, not to receive royalties, nor an author’s fee. (Not being in the John Grisham league there is no need to be impressed!)

So up to date. A couple of days ago while we were praying over our re-entry to Madrid as to when and how, we were given a very helpful prophetic word over a zoom call from someone who knew nothing about our prayers and deliberations. This put a pause button to our plans. Then a couple of days later we were put in touch with a Colombian-born woman who we had never met who was losing her accommodation at the end of September and needed a place for 3-4 months. Owning everything…

Paying attention to any check in our spirits (not paying attention to the ‘what if’ questions in the mind), we knew that we cannot own everything and possess it as well. Keys in post. A gift to her… a small contribution to her destiny.

Yesterday one of really good friends and neighbours had his birthday. We had the afternoon together. He freaked out (not good on your birthday) when he found what we had done. His wife explaining that he finds it very hard to trust people.

Our gift to him? We believe in people, their destiny. And we believe in him and his destiny.

It takes time when the paradigm is one of witnessing not evangelising (yes there is a chapter in Humanising the Divine on that, but you all know that cos you have all bought a copy – right?!!!!). But the time witnessing takes is so important. A relationship is built and it is not one-way.

We do our small part, and you do yours, and together we can own but not possess so that what we do not own we can possess.

One thought on “Ownership

  1. Lovely post Martin. I find when one has an attitude of gift, others are frequently distrustful of it. They can’t believe someone will do that. They resist receiving whatever is on offer as if it will bite back. That’s how far we are in our culture from a gift economy.

    And yet, in older societies, it is the gifting back and forth that cemented and supported community relationships. It might be that we really cannot have or experience community unless we learn to live in a gift economy. Just musing.

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