“That’s MINE!” As parents we have heard this a COUPLE MILLION TIMES as our children wrestle with their siblings over toys and such. It reminds me of a list that was composed by someone outlining the “Toddler’s Rules of Ownership.” “If I like it, it’s mine. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine. If I can take it from you, it’s mine. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine (Specifically speaking of LEGOS). If it looks just like mine, it’s mine. If I think it’s mine, it’s mine. If it’s yours and I steal it, it’s mine.”
With toddlers it is quite intriguing to observe this type of thinking. We get tickled as the thought comes to us, “The child didn’t buy the toy and didn’t do anything to earn or deserve the toy.” It is interesting to observe toddlers with this mindset, but it is even more interesting when we see this type of mentality carried on into adulthood. You see, when we take a good step back, we should realize what we have is not really ours at all. This helps with keeping things in perspective.
There’s a story of preacher who preached on this same topic about God’s Ownership and how things don’t really belong to man. A very wealthy man in the audience became upset with the message and invited the preacher to his home for lunch. The wealthy man gave the preacher the grand tour of all his possessions which included his elaborate gardens, woodlands, and farm. Upon the completion of the tour, the wealthy man grinned at the preacher and said to him, “So, you are going to tell me that all of this DOESN’T BELONG TO ME?!” The preacher thought for a moment and told the man, “Ask me that same question 100 years from now.”
This past Sunday I mentioned what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes: “As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came; And he shall take nothing from his labor which he may carry away in his hand” (Eccl. 5:15); cf. Luke 12:13-21. It’s easy to think that the possessions one has accumulated is the result of a good career, money that one has earned, etc. Although one has accumulated wealth and possessions in this life, we need to make sure that we don’t lose perspective like those of Israel. The Israelites would many times forget this important concept. Moses would remind them in Deuteronomy 8:11-18: “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell In them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end— then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He mayestablish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Our perspective changes when we acknowledge that what we have been entrusted with does NOT belong to us. Put this in your mind: “It’s Not Mine”. Rather it is God who provides and who gives us the abilities. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).
Right now, do we recognize the Lord God as the One who provides for us? As Psalm 24:1 says, “… is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.”
Consider also the following scriptures: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body”; Romans 12:1,2; Colossians 1:16,17 ; 1 Timothy 6:17,18.
It’s hard to read these scriptures and deny that everything belongs to God, yea even our own bodies. You want to see a great example of people who recognized this very truth and obviously didn’t struggle with the attitude of selfishness, go to 2 Corinthians 8 and read about the Macedonians who gave freely, beyond their means with great joy, although while afflicted and in spite of great poverty (1-5). The Macedonians were able to do this because they comprehended stewardship. Until we first give ourselves to the Lord, there will always be a struggle in a tug-of-war with the world and the things of this world. The struggle that exists is when we are only seeing things horizontally and NOT looking vertically as well. Horizontally we can take in all that which we have been blessed with and then vertically, understand by looking at the ground I will NOT take it with me, it will only matter as to how I used it in service to God who gave it. As I look upward, I thank the Lord for entrusting me with life and the wonderful gifts to use to His glory so I can one day be with Him in eternity.
Sometimes we need this reminder, even the words of a familiar song that says: “The things that I love and hold dear to my heart, are just borrowed, they’re not mine at all. Jesus only let me use them, to brighten my life, so remind me, remind me, Dear Lord. Roll back the curtain of memory now and then, show me where you brought me from and where I could have been, remember I’m human, and humans forget, so remind me, remind me, dear Lord.”
Are we following the “Toddler’s Rules of Ownership” or do we acknowledge the Lord and His rightful ownership in the entirety of our lives?
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊