Iwantitall

God’s Word is alive. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend studying the Bible, you will continue to learn if you simply persist. I had a what-did-that-say? moment last night before bed. I just started reading through 1 Corinthians this week and had reached chapter 3. Check out the final verses.

For everything belongs to you— 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, 23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God. (1 Cor. 3:21b-23)

The bit about Paul, Apollos, and Peter is because the church members in Corinth were squabbling over which was their leader. [Oh, the silly things that happen church. It turns out that Christians remain imperfect. Go figure.] Paul had to set them straight. Let’s focus on the twice repeated, nearly unbelievable phase “everything belongs to you”.

What?

I stopped reading right there and decided I needed to ponder this for a bit. Everything belongs to me? Let’s set the statement aside for a moment and consider the source. Paul (nee Saul) was trusted with penning the majority of the Spirit-inspired New Testament, the Truth, the second half of the Bible that teaches us to know and how to follow the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. The evidence says Paul is a trustworthy author. Okay, so if Paul wrote it on purpose (he did repeat it after all) and his words are God-instructed, then I simply need to understand the statement to realize it in my imperfect life.

Everything belongs to you.

As one of the faith leaders of all history, Paul was fond of the all-inclusive. He also wrote that oft-quoted verse: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:13)

Everything.

Does this mean I’m guaranteed a prosperous and trouble-free life? Does it mean I won’t face failure? That I’ll never struggle to pay my bills? That I’ll find my beautiful, fault-free spouse simultaneously with the decision I’m ready to marry? That I’ll never be rejected? Never endure heartbreak?

I’m still learning, but I don’t think so. My limited (mostly selfish) human definition of everything doesn’t seem to match what Paul had in mind.

Listen: Here’s what I know. God loves me. Lavishly. He will never abandon me, even when I hurt Him. Jesus died to pay my sin-debt, so I am righteous in God’s eyes.

Maybe, just maybe, this everything is not about me. Maybe the correct definition of everything is God-in-me and me-in-God. Maybe my Father is not so worried about the stuff of my life and is ultimately interested in the stuff of my heart. Maybe when I seek Him first, this generous loving Father blesses me with everything that is actually good for me.

Wait. I think there’s a verse about that, too…

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)

Jesus said that, by the way. It’s okay to want it all friend. Let that all be Jesus and everything is yours. Love you!

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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