The church we served in Chemnitz, Germany, met in a barn that we had remodeled into a meeting place for worship, Bible study and fellowship. One problem that we faced was having adequate parking. As more and more people acquired cars, there were fewer and fewer places to park on the street. One year a grocery chain built a store only yards from our property. We made an agreement with them to use their parking lot on Sundays, as they were closed anyway. This agreement worked for many years until the church moved into a larger facility.
The 52nd Week
I read about a church with a similar parking problem. When a store built a new building next to their property, the church made an agreement with the store to use their parking lot. The store agreed, and the church was allowed to use the lot 51 weeks per year. The 52nd week the lot was chained shut. The church was happy with the agreement but curious about the 52nd week. The store manager explained that he wanted them to remember that the lot did not belong to them!
Who Owns It?
Often when we use something long enough, we tend to think that it belongs to us! We tend to forget that everything we have comes from God and that ultimately, he is the owner of everything. Sometimes, however, it is hard to remember that! God reminded the Israelites of that very thing in Deut. 8:17-18; “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” How different giving looks when we acknowledge God as the source of all!