The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. Leviticus 25:23
Aliens and Sojourners – All of God’s children are adopted. It doesn’t make any difference if you are Jew or Gentile. All of God’s children become His because He adopts them. That was just as true for Abraham and Moses and those who left Egypt as it is for us today. We are all grafted in. The only difference is that some of us were grafted in before others. But from God’s perspective, we (Jew and Gentile) depend on His gracious act in order to be included in His Kingdom.
The terms for alien and sojourners are gerim and toshavim. Literally, you are outsiders and temporary visitors. Why? Because the land belongs to God. The whole earth belongs to God, so our status as residents on the earth depends entirely on Him. It will always belong to Him. At no time will we ever be owners. We are the servants of the King, not the employees in management training. We don’t hold stock options on heaven – or on earth. We don’t get shares. We can’t negotiate terms of purchase – or even terms of lease. We are here only because we were invited.
Sometimes it’s important to be reminded about ownership. God owns it all. We simply manage it for Him for the time being. Ethnic background, spiritual condition, theological declaration or creedal beliefs don’t change anything. We are stewards of His possessions.
This has profound implications for my life. I will be held accountable for my treatment of God’s property. And the standards of my accountability are not determined by me. Perhaps we need to read the Beatitudes again, but this time with an eye toward God’s measurements of proper stewardship. Maybe it would do us well to go through our lists of possessions and ask if they meet God’s stewardship standards. Maybe what’s on the list needs to change too.
Gerim and toshavim are invited into the Kingdom, but they come on the King’s terms. Perhaps we need to read the Bible as if it were a conditional temporary occupation agreement. Yeshua has a lot to say about that kind of contract in His parables. I wonder if we aren’t guilty of thinking that we own what God loans.
Topical Index: ownership, aliens, sojourners, gerim, toshavim, Leviticus 25:23