Just a word about ownership: In the hope of keeping this brief, I will leave out the address of the various passages covered. I have touched upon them in other contexts for over a year now.
It says of the believers in the early church, right after and as a consequence of Pentecost that there was not a needy person among them, and this, the fruit of no one thinking that anything they had was their own any longer. They had all things in common. In the wake of the Baptism of The Holy Spirit, there was a radical change of mind where ownership was concerned. Before the Baptism there was a sense of ownership. People were taken up with owning things, now they owned nothing in this sense any longer.
One could conclude that this was the end of ownership, except that Jesus made a promise, that in exchange for allowing Him to change their relational priorities, and their ownership priorities, He would give them, and us, “100 times relationships and 100 times houses” as well, Mark 10: 29-30. These relationships would best be described as family relationships.
In the fulfillment of this promise, we would now own 100 times the houses we might have owned in the past.
There are those who have come to be with us in the distress of these days in our war with cancer – “Crebbs.” Some of them are people whom The Lord has given to us, and we to them. They now own our home as part of the fulfillment of the promise. That’s the deal. On the one hand, they have lost all sense of ownership in the ways they used to think and possess, and yet they now own 100 times what they did before.
It’s a different kind of ownership, however. My wife and I own our home, yet not in the sense that this once was true. Now we are servants living in our home, and when others whom the Lord has made ours show up, they are also servants in our home. This old house is no longer occupied by owners, but by servants. The difference in attitude is wonderful. All the negative things that go along with feelings of ownership have now given way to feelings of servanthood. Those who come as servants share the load that once we bore alone. It is no longer we the owners, and they the guests, we all share in the responsibility of the service of the household.
It is said that Jesus went to visit His friends in Martha’s house. That was back in the days when those who followed Jesus still owned things. The attitude this generates, and the problems this creates are clearly seen in the difference between the attitudes of Martha, and Mary, her sister. Martha was the owner, and Mary was a sister living in Martha’s house. Mary was a sister, not a servant. That left all the weight of servant hood on Martha, with very little of the felt need to serve on Mary. Even back in those days, Jesus says of Mary that she had chosen the better part. What’s wrong with this picture? The fact is there are hosting responsibilities that go along with ownership.
The fact is there are things that go with ownership that can, and often are very onerous. This very burdensome aspect of ownership has been done away in Christ, when the house has many “owners,” owners in the form of servants of the household.
This difference in attitude, and responsibility is very big and very important! This is another point of the warfare associated with these wonderful and new relationships that are ours in Christ. This is not some new and irresponsible variety of relationships, it has responsibilities, and clearly defined roles that go along in the wonder of it all. This was never meant to be some gathering of irresponsible “warm fuzzies,” sitting around and singing verse after verse of Kumbaya, no, this is a new and clearly defined way of living in and by the Spirit. Not to share the responsibilities that go along with it is to contribute to the warfare against the saints, not the fellowship of the saints.
So let us be done with the old attitudes of ownership and hospitality, and embrace the new as co-heirs of this amazing and passionate new way of living.