Greetings my English-speaking friends and those wanting to learn, welcome to Just English!
“Mine!” It is an idea learned early in our childhood. This is mine. That is yours.
What is “ours” is important to humans. In English we call things we own, “property.”
Sometimes we are given property. Sometimes we earn property. Sometimes we take property that is not ours. We call that, “stealing.”
Governments provide justice when something is stolen. In fact, one of the main reasons that governments exist is to protect property. Governments sometimes go to war with other governments because of arguments over property.
How should we think about our things? How should we treat property?
Here, the Constitution of Peru (1993) guarantees all persons the right to own and inherit property. Of course, under our current form of government, there are people who own more things than others. There are rich people. There are also poor people. Such differences can lead to greed and jealousy.
To deal with problems of greed and jealousy Karl Marx created Communism. Communists tried to make a world without rich or poor. However, communism failed. As a wise man once said, “The poor will always be with you.” People are selfish beings. Humans are by nature greedy. We desire control. We desire power. We want more property. Think deeply about yourself and your own desires. If you are honest with yourself, you will realize that what I am saying is true. We are born with a selfish nature. As adults, we still claim, “Mine!” A form of government is not the answer to this problem. The answer comes from God.
From early in history, God gave laws about property. He told people not to steal. He told us not to be jealous of other people’s property (Exodus 20:15-17). God does not only tell us what not to do about property. He teaches us to treat property in good ways. He teaches us to love others by sharing our property. Sharing is honorable and loving because it gives away ownership. You cannot truly share without the idea of ownership.
Early Christians lived this way. In the Bible, we find that followers of Jesus shared everything with each other. They sold their land and other possessions and gave the money to anyone who needed it.
Why do followers of God want to live this way? It is because they believe that properties, all things, are a gift from God. From this viewpoint, property “owners” might be better understood as, property “managers.” Followers of God consider what He wants them to do with His property.
What does God want people to do with His property? Jesus told His followers, “Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who doesn’t have any. Whoever has food should share it too.”
When tax collectors asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” Jesus told them, “Don’t collect more money than you are ordered to collect.”
When soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” Jesus told them, “Be satisfied with your pay, and never use threats or blackmail to get money from anyone.”
Property is important but, as Jesus warned, “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal. Your heart will be where your treasure is…”.
I’m Leon Smith.