Points to Ponder: Yours, Mine, and Ours is His
Points to Ponder
Yours, Mine, and Ours is His
I guess I'm a bit of a freak around our house. Call me crazy, but I think that closet doors ought to be shut after you hang up your coat. In fact I actually believe that coats should be removed from the floor, coffee table, sofa and hung up. Shoes should be either on your feet or put in an appropriate place where others won't trip over them. I often hear the question shouted from another room by one of our girls, "Daddy, where are my shoes?" One of the reasons they still believe I have amazing powers is that I usually do know. Why? Because I am developing that hard-to-cultivate fruit of the Spirit called patience. I see the shoes anywhere but where they ought to be, and I manage (more often than some would believe) to keep my blood pressure and mouth under control.
So as we await the school bus one morning, my nine-year-old asks, "Where do you get your neatness from?" Like it's an inherited thing and not a learned skill; she gets annoyed with me. However, she's wise enough to know that if not for me, a lot of her vital possessions and clothing would be in the lost and found (which is located everywhere in our house). One day when they move into their own places, we'll do an archaeological dig in their bedroom and dump it there.
But I digress. Her question prompted a teachable moment. Despite her intelligence, she would probably miss the point, but some seedlings bloom late; so why not plant it now, I thought.
"Do you know what stewardship is?" I asked. I explained that everything belongs to God. He either blesses us with the good things we have, or He gives us the ability to work for the resources to buy it. I told her that I see everything we have as something God has given us to use or enjoy for a while. "You can't take it with you," they say. That's because it was never yours. It stays here and passes to the next person.
There is incredible freedom in having an attitude of stewardship. I'm not wrapped up with a drive to acquire things, because my stuff is not permanently mine. I explained to my daughter that, as a child I had very little but it was an abundance to me then. I was thankful. I took care of my stuff.
We had one car, an old one, which Dad kept fixing till it wasn't worth fixing. Then he'd get the next one and repeat the process. My first car was the family station wagon he'd bought when I was nine years old.
I loved that car, kept it clean, bought a cool cup holder for it. "Wow, I own a car!" What a privilege. I still feel that way.
I remember sitting in the stairwell of my first house; a two-bedroom townhouse. I touched the wall and thought, "Wow, I have a wall. By then, I'd paid enough of the mortgage to confidently declare that three of the steps, the railing, and the front door were now mine.
But what does "mine" mean? Legally, I own stuff. But upon breathing my last, it passes to someone else. So is it or was it ever mine?
What does all this have to do with wanting some order, and caring for our property? It's the principle of treating borrowed things with respect. If we regard each of our good things as a blessing from God, a gift He's allowed us to use and enjoy for a time, it seems only right to be extremely grateful and to demonstrate that gratitude in how we care for it.
"For every beast of the forest is Mine and the cattle on a thousand hills" (Psalm 50:10).
The hills are His as well. To care for what is the Lord's is right; for how else can you thank Him enough? You're a fool if you think you are entitled to stuff. It's also a trap.
As a child I could get down over the smallest things. I recall being depressed and in general not very happy much of the time, even if things were generally good.
But once I learned to be thankful, even in the presence of great loss, I found peace. The day my dad died I recall feeling thankful, not mournful. Oh, I had tears; but the blessings I'd been given through 42 years with him far exceeded the sense of loss I know without him. I dwell on the gift enjoyed, not the loss for now.
It's just a philosophy of life and I'm trying to instill it in my children. They think I'm obsessed with being clean and neat. But one day I hope they will be obsessed with appreciating the wealth of blessings bestowed upon them.
It's funny that we will handle an autographed photo of a celebrity as a valuable treasure. Yet God's autograph is seen in the blessings He grants us.
"For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth" (Psalm 37:22a).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com