Settling down in the easy chair one night, I looked forward to an interesting-looking episode from the documentary, “America in Color.” It is not that I often find time to do this, nor can even afford the time to do this. But on this occasion, I did – my version of coming aside to rest awhile. One of the segments of the program highlighted the Osage native American tribe during the early twentieth century. Through a strange twist of events, the Osages, who had been granted property by the US government came into a vast amount of wealth. At first, the decision by the US to give them land seemed like a strategy to marginalize this needy and poverty-stricken people group. But what appeared to have dubious intentions, actually turned out to be for them an immense blessing in disguise when it was discovered that the land they resided on was situated on top of an abundant supply of subterranean oil. Because the Osages now owned the land, the government was obligated to make good on the rich supply that lay beneath their feet, paying the tribe handsome financial dividends beyond anything they could have ever imagined. It was reported at the time, that they were the wealthiest people in all the world per capita. It was truly a story of going from “rags to riches.”
Certainly there is a spiritual lesson in all this. Every Christian has also been brought into a vast supply of spiritual blessings, undetected by the human eye. According to Ephesians 1:3, we have been drenched with every spiritual blessing in Christ. These blessings came to us when we came to Christ since Ephesians 1:11 reminds us that we have already obtained an inheritance (past tense). They are our present possessions by nature of our identity with Christ; crucified, raised up and made to sit together with Him. It is not based on any merit of our own, through any works of our own, or our social, economic or educational standing or even our parentage. No, nothing of the kind. Instead, it is because of a strange but wonderful twist of events – when needy people (like us) and perhaps marginalized, came into untold spiritual wealth, whose curse was turned into a blessing. When we were spiritually sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed, waiting for the “moving of the water” (Jn. 5), Someone came to our aid when no one else did. As a result, we are now sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Amazing grace! To top it off, to be given an assurance that these blessings – our inheritance – will never disappear or be taken away and is reserved in heaven for us is even more astounding.
Our Spiritual Portfolio
So what makes up this inheritance that Scripture speaks about? For starters, it involves our salvation, which will never be corrupted, defiled or ever fade away. Another? The Holy Spirit – He will always be the same and He will never be corrupted, or defiled or ever fade away. Another? The Word of God – that will always be the same and will never pass away, (Mt. 24:35). On and on we can go: assurance; understanding (1 Jn. 5:20); sonship; spiritual gifts and abilities…the list is endless. As the hymn states, “blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” How great is our God!
Yet, I wonder if some of us have not really entered into our inheritance as much as we could. Let’s face it, we all at times can be like those 2 ½ tribes (Josh. 1), unwilling to venture into the interior because we enjoy our current, comfortable situation far too much. We forfeit the better fruit of the land by our complacency. It is not that we don’t have the rights to a better experience or even possess the resources to get there. But the question is: “Are we living in the good of it?” Have we crossed over the Jordan (Josh. 3), are we following behind the Ark (Josh. 3, 4), have we applied the sharp knife of the Word in self-judgment (Josh. 5), and have we overcome in the strength of the Lord (Josh. 6)? If we have not, we can hardly say that we have entered in the full apprehension and appreciation of all that is ours in Christ. Comparing it with the example of the Osages but in reverse, I have heard of cases of landowners who never realized they lived atop oil fields and despite having the rights to the land, never tapped into the wealth that was theirs and consequently never entered into the benefit of that which they actually possessed.
Joshua was a person who never departed out of the Tabernacle (Ex. 33:11), but as fearless and successful as he was in the battles of the Lord, there was still more land he needed to possess. God said so (Josh. 13:1), even though he was old. God says the same to us. How about you, how about me? Can it be said of us that there remains very much land to be possessed?