Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 24. (MsgB)
God claims Earth and everything in it. God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations, laid it out on River girders.
At precisely twelve-noon on September 16, 1893 a cannon’s boom unleashed the largest land rush America has ever seen. Carried by all kinds of transportation – horses, wagons, trains, bicycles or on foot – an estimated 100,000 people raced to claim plots of land in an area located in northern Oklahoma Territory known as the Cherokee Strip. There were only 42,000 parcels of land available that day – far too few to satisfy the hopes of all those who raced for land. Additionally, many of the “Boomers” – those who had waited for the cannon’s boom before rushing into the land claim – found that a number of the choice plots had already been claimed by “Sooners” who had snuck into the land claim area before the race began. Yet despite the controversy, the impact of this land rush was immediate, transforming this part of America almost overnight.
So the story goes of the great American land rush of 1893. People literally running over one another in order to stake their claim on land that, according to King David, had already been staked out by God long before anyone ever lived in what is now called Oklahoma.
Makes me wonder how often I race around in life, staking my claim on this thing or that, proudly pounding a marker into the ground and then declaring to myself and to others that I ‘own’ something that God actually called dibs on long before I was ever born? If we read Psalm 24 correctly, there is nothing on this planet that hasn’t already been staked out by the Almighty long before any of us existed. So with that being the case, too bad we human beings can’t be a little less demanding when it comes to staking out our claims on this life?
Imagine, for a moment, how life might change for the better if more of us could step away from staking ownership on people, places and things and begin seeing ourselves as simple stewards of God’s property as compared to owner/operators? Just think how many wars, for example, might have been avoided, both world wars and personal wars, if more of us human beings took down our ‘private property’ signs and learned to defer & prefer to the original Owner/Operator instead?
Wishful thinking, you say? I hope not. I pray not.
As I see it, there’s still time before Jesus comes back for a handful of people to choose that Psalm 24 is 100% correct. In truth, God has already staked out everything here on planet earth. It’s His. Not mine or yours. And with that issue settled, maybe you and I could get on with the important business of becoming faithful stewards of God’s property and forget about owning things for ourselves? What if you and I, for example, no longer believed that people and property actually belonged to human beings, but to God? What if a church community decided to no longer stake a claim as the biggest and best church in town, laboring to collect more money than the other churches in our community, buying more property than the church down the street, or putting up a bigger building than the guys across town?
What if the Church called by His Name allowed God to be the Owner/Operator of the Church and we were content to be simple, faithful stewards of God’s already-established business?
My prayer: Father, it seems like life on planet earth is a lot like the Oklahoma land rush. Everybody pushing and shoving others around, trying to stake our claim on something that, quite honestly, isn’t ours in the first place. Forgive me when I claim to own something that you already own. Release me from that mentality. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where am I guilty of putting an Owner/Operator sign on people, places and things, ignoring the fact that God has only called me to be a good steward of His property, not own and control it for myself? What might it look like for me to give up my claim on life and prefer & defer His?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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