What Do You Have That You Did Not Receive?

Exalting Christ in community and mission

What Do You Have That You Did Not Receive?

“That’s mine!  You can’t have it!”  I’ve heard my children say this to each other for years.  Whether it was an argument over a toy or a box of candy, the idea of “ownership” dominated the conversation.

In much the same way, we as adults conduct ourselves in a similar fashion.  It might not be in petty arguments over toys or candy, but often times the sense of ownership dominates what we do with our homes, cars, time, and even money.

In the face of this, the Bible teaches us some fundamental truths about ourselves and about God.  First of all, the Bible says that the whole earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord, and not to man (Ps 24:1).  Even Eden did not belong to Adam and Eve…and how do we know?  They couldn’t take it with them after they sinned.  Even our homes and our cars don’t really belong to us…again, how do we know?  We can’t them them with us when we die.

That brings us to the Biblical teaching of Stewardship (1 Peter 4:10).  A steward is not an owner, but a manager of someone else’s things.  James says, “every good and perfect gift comes from above” (James 1:17).  Paul says, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7)  In other words, who gave us everything we have?  The answer, of course, is God.  In fact, all things belong to him (Ps 24:1).  God owns them.  And He asks us to now be stewards of what he has given us.

That brings us to giving.  Since all things are God’s, he now asks us to be good stewards by giving.  But how?  The Bible says to give in several ways…

  1. Sacrificially
  2. Generously
  3. Obediently
  4. Worshipfully
  5. Cheerfully

If we view ourselves as owners, it will be hard to give for we will always battle selfishness.  But if we view ourselves as stewards of the gifts of God, we can now give with great joy knowing that it wasn’t even ours to start with.  How do you view yourself…as a owner or a steward?  Never forget Paul’s question: “What do you have that you did not receive?”


Rev. Adam Mumpower, Senior Pastor