What If You Owned the Whole World?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

1 Corinthians 3:22-23

When I was a boy, my friends and I would play a game with our imaginations. We asked each other questions like: What would you do if you could become invisible? What would you do if you could fly? And then there was one of our favorites: What would you do if you owned the whole world?

Of course, our answers were predictably small and selfish. One of my friends would have built a pool in his back yard. Another would have bought the company that makes M&Ms. My first thoughts generally focused on buying a mini-bike and a BB gun, two of my dream possessions that my parents would not allow me to own.

The Christians in first-century Corinth didn’t wish for the things that enticed my young friends and me, but they were acting small and selfish in their own way. These immature believers were so preoccupied with their relationships with their favorite Christian leader that they were threatening the unity of the Corinthian church. In the first part of 1 Corinthians 3, the Apostle Paul explained to his converts how their conception of Christian ministry was wrong, and that they needed to see their leaders as God’s servants and workers. What really mattered was God’s work in the Corinthian church, and even his presence among them that made them his own temple.

In the latter verses of 1 Corinthians 3, Paul sought to expand the Corinthians’ minds in yet another direction. They had been snared by statements like “I belong to Paul” or “I belong to Apollos” or “I belong to Peter.” But Paul reverses and augments the formula: “So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you—whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life or death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God." (3:21-23). In what sense does everything belong to the believers in Corinth . . . and to us, by implication? No, we don’t literally own the whole world. But we do belong to the God who ultimately owns all things. And we are not only his children, but also his heirs, those who will someday share with him in sovereignty over all creation. The more we see ourselves in terms of our relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords, the less we’ll be inclined to view ourselves in ways that minimize and trivialize our existence. Moreover, we’ll not let things that aren’t truly important divide us from our sisters and brothers in Christ, our fellow heirs of the Heavenly Father.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What would you do differently in your life if you really believed that you are an heir of God, and therefore the whole cosmos belongs to you, in a sense? Do you live each day as if you belonged to Christ?

PRAYER: O Lord, as I read this passage from 1 Corinthians, I’m impressed with how easy it is for me to “think small.” I let little things bother me. I allow insignificant differences injure my relationships with other people. I see the world in terms of my little piece of the pie, rather than as something that belongs to you, and, therefore, belongs to me as your child and heir.

Help me, Lord, to see my life expansively, in light of your ownership of all things. May I see myself as one who belongs to you in every way, and may this reality govern my life each day. Use me in this world, Lord, for your purposes and glory. All praise be to you! Amen.