Being owned has negative connotations:
Or how often do TV characters intimidate someone by shouting, “I OWN YOU!”
People playing sports may shout this as well when they want to rile their opponents.
In our minds, being owned is humiliating; it completely devalues a person.
All of this flitted through my mind recently as I meditated on verses about us being God’s possession. Then something fairly obvious flashed through my mind: The way people typically think of being owned is not the way I regard my own possessions.
I take good care of my stuff; at times, ridiculously good care. Why? Because I desired the things I have. I wanted them enough to pay for them. My desire for my possessions and the cost of getting them gives them value. And I cherish the things I value. I use them with care and respect. I do all I can to maintain and protect them from damage or theft.
Is it a terrible thing for one person to own another? Sure. But it isn’t terrible to be owned by God. Relationship with Him is so pure that even being owned—being His slave—is redeemed. (And yes, the Bible does use the word “slave” though many modern translations soften it to “servant.”) Ownership is not wrong. I doubt most of my things are hurt or devalued because I own them. In fact, I’d argue that using them and caring for them increases their value.
God owns us. He wanted us so badly He paid in blood. Now we live in His house, where He cherishes and cares for us. His desire for us and the price He paid give us inestimable value. There is no higher honor than to belong to the Lord of all.
“You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
2 Comments Add yours
I think of God’s ownership of us in the NT sense of a ‘bondslave’. A bondslave was a slave who had been granted his/her freedom by the master, but willingly chose to remain a slave in that master’s household, rather than take the freedom they were legally entitled to. A bondslave preferred to live as a servant forever with the master than leave the master. Obviously this would only have happened in households where the master was kind and benevolent and loved by the slaves.
Yes, I think Exodus 21 talks about this very thing. It’s a beautiful picture of the relationship we have with our Master. Jesus is so good & loving & has given so much for us that the only fitting response is to give ourselves wholly to Him 🙂