I attended the supermarket to purchase the required items.
The standard procedure is that the shopper walks around selecting the desired items, proceeds to the checkout where ‘our’ products are scanned, pays the total price required and exits the store.
But do we know that when we walk around choosing ‘our’ products, at that stage the items are not ours and that ownership remains with the proprietor?
Ownership does not pass to the shopper until payment has been tendered at the checkout and is accepted. Until then all that has happened is that the proprietor has extended to the shopper an ‘invitation to treat’ which eventuates in payment and completion of the transaction.
At that point it is as if ownership has flown through the air from the seller to the buyer. Only then do the goods legally belong to the buyer, having been purchased.
This legal ‘flight of title’ takes place millions of times over every day all around the world whether we are purchasing the groceries or a pharmaceutical item, and whether we are in a supermarket or other store where goods are on display in the shopper’s reach available for purchase.
Whilst no written contract may have been entered into, nevertheless a legally enforceable oral contract has been, and then been completed.
Purchased for God
There is a faintly similar but far deeper very personal Biblical parallel here, the latter being of eternal dimension.
The profound, foundational statement about what Jesus has done for us, is recorded in the new song of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders. It is sung in the throne room of heaven that: You were slain and with Your blood You purchased men for God. (Revelation chapter 5 verse 9).
Jesus’ immensely gracious agonising self-sacrifice was (and remains, at least for now) effective for the whole of humankind. He purchased men for God: from every tribe and language and people and nation. (ch 5 v 9).
They want to belong
In The Reason for My Hope, Billy Graham wrote of an occasion when he was to speak at Harvard University. Whilst visiting beforehand with the president of that institution, he asked: “What appears to be the thing that young people are looking for the most?” Without hesitation the president answered: “They want to belong.”
- Do young people want to belong to/see themselves fitting into this world from which they may feel disillusioned and disconnected?
- Do they feel disconnected because they don’t relate to or agree with what they see and perceive to be the dominant views, aspirations and values of their world?
Generally speaking, young people are more idealistic than us ‘oldies’ and are looking for, and are (justifiably) expecting more than their world is offering them.
Individually do we really care that climate change may indeed be the most damning moral dilemma of our time, for the near future but more so for the distant future of our grandchildren?
How many of us truly care if our country is paying ever-increasing interest bills on scandalously mounting, burdensome national debt, and in their lifetimes those grandchildren may (probably will) experience the effect of our national profligacy thereby receiving reduced services and a dimmer lifestyle as a result?
Wildlife and habitat loss: the defacement of nature
Though individually we may care, we nevertheless feel helpless about some of our world’s most beautiful wildlife disappearing at an alarming rate.
This is happening (at least in part) because of the insatiable appetite in Asia where communistic (hence atheistic) governments reign, which have done little or nothing to quell the ignorant lust for ineffective exotic animal body parts that readily convert into huge dollars.
The supply comes from impoverished ‘source-countries’ (plundered of natural wealth during colonial times?) where these hapless animals roam free but vulnerable to heartless poaching, and the international black market is seen as the quickest most profitable way to scratch out a half-decent survival.
But so said American Indian Chief Seattle: Only when the last tree is cut down and the last river runs dry will you realise you cannot eat money.
Where are we heading?
Nightly TV news routinely reports a street brawl, police raids of ice labs, a terrorist attack, a rape, multiple stabbing, shooting (including drive-by), home invasion and the list goes on.
It’s understandable if a young person wonders whether they really want to belong in this world.
God offers a better way
The Christian knows that God is in ultimate control although we also know that for now “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John chapter 5 verse 19).
From the worsening daily news we realise that Satan is being increasingly active. He is filled with fury “because” he knows that his time is short. (Revelation chapter 12 verse 12). Jesus’ return may be near or far but one thing is certain: it’s certain.
What it means to belong to the family of God
The person who has found meaning to life and significance in God “belongs to the truth” (1 John chapter 3 verse 19), and everyone “on the side of truth” listens to Him. (John chapter 18 verse 37). Jesus is the truth. (John chapter 14 verse 6).
The catch-22 of Scripture - choosing by doing nothing
It’s easy to think, talk and act like a worldly (unspiritual) person, and thereby belong to the world. Then the world will love you as its own because you ‘fit in’ just like everyone else.
Jesus says to His followers: “If” you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. (John chapter 15 verse 19). But it’s far better to love God, belong to Him and strive to obey Him.
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html