Today’s Scripture: For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20

My father was a land surveyor. I grew up in the family business in southwest Arkansas.

I learned a lot from my Dad and my brothers about surveying. I learned to set the parking brake on the old work truck that liked to pop out of gear. I might not want to explain why I know this!

One of the most valuable lessons I learned had to do with junior/senior rights. The original surveyors surveyed Arkansas in the 1800s after the Louisiana Purchase. Despite their best efforts to survey the land into one-mile squares called sections, none of the sections were square and none of them measured exactly a mile on a side. Each section was supposed to contain 640 acres, but due to inaccurate measurements, some of them contained a lot more, some less. Regardless, a surveyor’s job today is to retrace the original surveyor’s footsteps, not attempt to “correct” their work.

Let’s assume that ten years ago, Bob bought “forty acres.” He may not know it, but what he really bought was 1/16 of a section. If the pie was big, Bob got extra land. If the pie was small, he got less than 40 acres. Let’s assume Bob’s “forty acres” actually only contains 38 acres. He sells off 20 acres to Shane. Then he sells his remaining land to Bart and moves to Florida. Bart calls my dad the surveyor and says the bank is requiring him to get a survey so he can get a loan on his land. We discover Bart only has 18 acres, not twenty. Bart isn’t happy but there is nothing we can do to change it. Why did Shane get 20 but Bart only gets 18?

The answer: senior rights. Bob sold 20 acres to Shane. He only had 18 left to sell to Bart. You can’t sell something you don’t own.

You and I face this problem every day. We assume our life belongs to us. But it’s God’s universe, God’s oxygen, God’s food. He shares it with us, but we act like we own it. God was here first. We got here second.

God’s senior rights trump our junior rights. Let’s act like invited guests, not entitled owners. Let’s give the Owner the respect He deserves.

Devotional by Pastor Neal Dearyan