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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Possess vs. Possession

I wonder how many things / blessings we have been given which we really never take possession of simply because we are "sitting around on our hands"?  Let me just say this as we begin today - we are all a little guilty of "possessing" without really taking "possession".  Israel finds themselves at this crossroad as we look into the scripture today.


Then the entire congregation of the People of Israel got together at Shiloh. They put up the Tent of Meeting. The land was under their control but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had yet to receive their inheritance.  Joshua addressed the People of Israel: "How long are you going to sit around on your hands, putting off taking possession of the land that God, the God of your ancestors, has given you?  (Joshua 18:1-3 The Message)


The battles have been fought - enemies are driven out of the land.  Now, all which remains is the dividing up of the land for their possession.  Yet, instead of moving "into" what they now possess, they are putting it off!  Go figure!  


When we possess something, it "belongs" to us - we own it.  Truth be told, I "own" a lot of stuff I don't ever use!  Isn't this true of all of us?  How many of us have sheds and storage shelves where we tuck things away, planning on maybe using it some day, then forget it is even there?  By the time we discover we need it, we honestly could say we probably never realized its worth until we needed it!  


Something we "possess" really becomes a "possession" when we put it to use.  In other words, when we finally realize the worth of the thing, we put it into use, and in turn, it becomes something which occupies a certain place or purpose in our lives.  For example, we may possess a flashlight which is squirreled away on a top shelf somewhere.  We don't see the value of the flashlight until we are plunged into darkness during a power outage.  Now, the "squirreled away" flashlight becomes a very valuable possession, does it not? In fact, it keeps us from stumbling in the darkness!


Guess what?  God's gifts are often not fully appreciated and placed into "operation" in our lives until we move them from being something we possess to a place where they occupy a place or purpose in our lives!  I possess a voice - it has no purpose until it is used!  I have a mind - it serves very little purpose until it is challenged to perform!  


I wonder what you might possess which is not fully in your "possession"?  Here are some questions to ask yourself:


1.  What talents do I seem to gravitate toward?  What seems to come "naturally" to me?  Oftentimes, the things which come naturally to us are really talents God would love to use for his glory.  If we find it easy to speak with other people, making them feel at ease and welcome, we may not fully realize how this can be a tremendous "gift" within the circles we keep.  God would like nothing more than to have us take this possession and put it to use for him!


2.  What lessons have I been learning over the past two weeks?  I bet if you stopped long enough to consider the messages you have heard at church, the things you have been reading in scripture, and even the messages you have read in blogs / postings, you will find a common theme!  God is placing something into your possession - it is time to take it from a place of ownership into a place of usefulness in your lives!  When we actually begin to "inventory" what we have been given, we begin to understand just how much we put into use!  Joshua took three men from each of the tribes who still had not possessed what they had been given.  He sent them out to divide up the land and then report back on how the boundary lines would be laid out.  Then they GOT what God had already given!  Often, all we need to do is a good "inventory" of what we have been given - then we come into a place where we "GET it"!


Just some thoughts today on the difference between possessing something and making it your possession!  Possess on!  But....don't stop short of making everything you possess a thing of value and worth in your life!  Israel did not reap the crops from the land they possessed until they took possession of the land!  The same is true for us!