THREE OUTLOOKS REGARDING POSSESSIONS

WHAT’S YOURS IS MINE. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead” (Lk.10:30). The outlook of a thief (and toddlers) is this: If I can get it from you, it’s mine. Robbers are takers. The goal of a robber is to get as much as he can however he can. He is not his brother’s keeper; he’s his enemy.

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WHAT’S MINE IS MINE. “A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (Lk.10:31,32). Why didn’t these religious people stop? Because they said, “What is mine is mine. My time is mine, my money is mine. It does not belong to you.” Religious—but not righteous.

These are the capitalists in the world. Given the condition of the human heart, capitalism works. Capatalists bow the knee to the god of gold and seek to accumulate what they can.

They insulate themselves from the world, from interaction with real need. It is a terrible deception. They miss the most obvious opportunities to love God by loving people. Jesus said, “When you did it to the least, you did it to me.”

Capitalism ultimately doesn’t work because of human nature. What we possess possesses us. And the god of green urges us on for more, and we embrace a money morality. We justify our style of life by whining, “If I bought it, I can have it.”

There is one more outlook:

WHAT’S MINE IS YOURS. “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’” (Lk.10:33-35). The Samaritan accepted the responsibility to care for his brother. Why? Because he was not an owner, he was a steward.

If the Creator owns it all, we are managers. The issue is not how much we can accumulate but how much we can care for. I do much better as a manager of God’s than as an owner. As an owner I get greedy. As a steward I learn to live responsibly. And one of my responsibilities is my brother. Whatever you need I give to you. If you need time, I have it. Encouragement? I give it. Money? It’s yours.

You know you are a steward if…

  • You get more excited about giving to a mission in China than getting a jacuzzi.
  • You wish you had more money because you love giving it away.
  • You see a need and you have a hard time not meeting it.

“It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them” (Matthew 25:14). The ultimate question Jesus will ask His own when He returns is, “What did you do with what I gave you?”

Amazingly, even the Creator who owns it all does not say, “That’s mine.” He is pictured in the parable of the prodigal son as a good father who says, “All that is mine is yours.”

When my wife’s niece and her family moved from Chicago to Seattle, they had a sale, then gave the money to the poor. Not that they were rich; they were just righteous. How fun!

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