Thursday, June 11th. 2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.  2 Corinthians 5:11-15

 

When does a child first learn to say the word “mine”?

 

I can’t remember the exact timeline but I remember well that, once learned, well before reaching the age of two, it was a word that was trotted out more often than possible.

 

“MINE!” when a visiting toddler reached for the wrong toy.  “MINE!” when we decided she had had enough Cheerio’s.  “MINE!” when a sibling wanted…just about anything.

 

It is a strange thing that, as they grew up, the word “mine” slipped off the radar screen when suggestions were made to attach it to toys or books or shoes clothing that hadn’t been picked up off the floor.

 

And it is a strange thing indeed that any toddler declares anything to be “mine” given their complete lack of participation in any economic or creative effort that resulted in the “mine object” entering our home.

 

Paul suggests, beginning with our very lives, that nothing in life is “mine.”  Life is a gift.  The only real belonging is the reality that we belong to God – the God who created us, who redeemed us, and who fills us with the breath of life.  We, and everything about our lives, comes with a tag that says “Use as intended” – and the whole kit and kaboodle belongs to God.

 

So it is that Paul is carrying this message to the Corinthians who seem to have forgotten much of what he taught them in the time he was among them.  They are being swayed by other teachers.  They seem content returning to the dead end lives in which Paul found them.  They are being manipulated by teachers who present an “eye candy” faith that is increasingly disconnected from the heart of God-given reality.

 

So Paul reminds them that they belong to God.  Their lives are not their own.  Their calling, like Paul’s calling, comes to them from the outside.  They live, not for themselves, but as representatives, ambassadors, of a divine sovereignty.  They have died to an old life that God might raise them to a new life and that changes everything.

 

Not “mine” but “thine.”

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, teach us anew that we belong to you.  Teach us to live with a lightness in our being and a sense of your purpose being lived out through us.  Remind us that we belong to you.  Always and forever.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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