Deuteronomy 15 talks about how we view the things we have. In a nutshell – we have to remember that none of it is ours – it all belongs to God. What is the test of whether we have that right? We can simply see how we hold our hands. Do you hold on to things with open hands – willing and ready to give whatever you have away as God leads, or do you clinch tightly to what you have as yours for your own benefit unwilling to share or give? That is the question we need to wrestle with. Check out what Moses teaches the people.
“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release….every creditor shall release what he has lent….your hand shall release”. See the pattern that is being set up here. At the end of each seven years – debts were to be forgiven and slaves set free. The reason – it was time to set people free. This not only helps the ones who were indebted, it also teaches those who were the lender or owner how to give. A little later Moses instructs the people to “open your hand”. We are to live with our hands wide open – realizing that all we have is God’s anyway – willing to give and allow Him to have control of what is already His.
That isn’t what the world tells us. We are told to make a big pile of stuff that we can call ours. The bigger the pile, the more successful we are. He with the most stuff wins. That is not true. God is not impressed by our stuff. In fact, it is a hindrance to our walk with Him if we hold on tightly to it. God tells us that “there will be no poor among you”. We’re missing the mark there as over half the world lives on less than $2 a day. So what does He mean? That the stuff He had provided was to be used to take care of the people in the patch. We are to love one another. God’s blessing depends on that. He says “if only you will strictly obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all this commandment”. Obedience brings blessing. God has some requirements for how we use what He has entrusted to us.
One area where that is true is around how we handle our stuff, particularly our money. “Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart….your heart shall not be grudging when you give…. to the needy and to the poor”. Note that the heart is the key here. It isn’t about the amount – it is about the condition of the heart. We have to be careful not to become obsessed with our stuff. We have to be willing to give it away. It all begins with our mind and heart – realizing it is not ours – and willingly following God’s direction in giving it away. God wants us to live with open hands. It is His way!