I mentioned on Friday, in some ramblings, really, that this world is just using you. If that slipped right by you or if you read it but could not fathom it, consider these words of Jesus;
A slave doesn't live in the home forever, but a son does. (John 8:35)
I'm telling you - that's exactly your relationship with the world.
This world allows you to be here. It takes advantage of your labor. It takes advantage of your good will. It takes advantage of everything you have to offer it, but it offers you nothing in return. You don't even get to stay here.
You spend your whole life building up this place, creating a little space that feels like it's just for you, decorating the world around you to your content, investing in your little corner of it all. And tomorrow, you die. Just like that. The world kicks you out of itself. It invites death and decay to settle into the very space you've set aside for yourself. All of a sudden, this little place you once called "home" starts slipping away from you.
Because you never really belonged here. Because you never really had a place.
Think about it. All the money you accumulate here will one day be just enough to bury you. Someone else will move into the house you built (or bought). The car you drive will be passed on for pennies on the dollar until such a time as it, too, becomes good for nothing and lands on a junk pile somewhere to rust. All the status, all the titles, all the reputation you made for yourself won't fit on a tombstone. It will state merely your name, the year you were born, the year that you died, and one tiny little dash that will represent all that you did here.
A nobody. Nothing. A simple slave to this world, entitled not even to a good story.
But here's the cool thing. At least, I think it's cool. This world isn't all there is. At the very same moment this world reduces you back to merely a name, God Himself speaks that name in welcome. You groan when you see those few little letters etched across your tombstone, but you weep with tender joy when you hear them spoken by the living God.
At the very same moment your money buries you, you walk on streets paved with gold. As someone else moves into the house you built (or bought), you move into a mansion you neither built nor could ever buy. As that old jalopy begins to rust, your worn-out body is being restored.
This world is looking at your worn-out, lifeless, used-up body at the very same moment you finally start to dance.
Because it's true - you were just a slave here. This world didn't desire a relationship with you; it took ownership of you. It never intended to give you everything; it wouldn't even really give you anything. It never set aside a shred of inheritance for you. This world knew what it would one day do with you, where it would bury your bones. And it never for one second gave you space to think about the One who knit those bones together in your mother's womb and what He might one day do with you.
It would never let you dream of being more than a slave.
But we were made for more than this. We weren't made for this temporary place. God breathed the very breath of forever into each one of us, and that's what we were made for. Eternity. No matter how hard you try, you just can't get that here. You can't get that from this world. Slaves don't get forever. Only sons do. (And daughters, of course.)
Which means the question you have to be asking yourself is not who owns you, but who loves you. Not where you belong, but to whom you belong. To put it another way, the question is really this: Who's your Daddy? Who makes you more than a slave? Who makes you wholly a son? Who offers you the very forever that was breathed into your spirit?
Is your life merely a dash or is it a story? Who do you want saying your name?
I'll say it again, in case you've somehow missed this: this world is just using you. You're nothing more than a slave here, and that's all you'll ever be. One day, all of this will fade away and you with it.
But take heart. In the very same breath that this world is using you, the Lord your God is loving you. You're nothing less than His precious child, a son or daughter of the One True King. And He's said Himself that that alone gets you something. Something called...forever.