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The Principle of Ownership

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Faith's Firm Foundation: The Principle of Ownership

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Principle of Ownership

     Ok, I'm going to be very vulnerable today.  I'm going to share things with you that aren't very flattering about myself, and I hate to admit them.  But, I think that by doing it, you might be freed from some burden you're carrying, and so, I think it's worth being a little vulnerable with you--worth taking the risk that you'll think I'm a terrible person.  We heard at the Seminar yesterday that when we get angry, it means that someone has just stepped on one of our "rights."  (This is, by the way, an extension of the whole subject of bitterness.)  We were encouraged to write down what we think our rights are.  We all have a lot of them.  Some of them are "right" and some of them probably aren't, but writing them down is kind of revealing; at least it was to me.  Once we've written them down, we don't just give them up.  We give them God.  And while we're at it, he encouraged, why not give Him our possessions, as well. Might as well. Sometimes it's our possessions that we're holding onto tightly that causes us to get angry.  How many families have been divided by bitterness and anger over an inheritance or, a lot of times, a small "thing" that's not even worth much.  Give Him everything that's in your hand. He really owns everything and is in control of everything anyways. Like Moses when God asked him, "What's that in your hand?"  A rod.  Throw it down. (It turned into a venomous snake.)  Pick it up again. It never was an ordinary rod again. And Moses always thereafter referred to it as the rod of God.  When we give over everything to Him, He may give it back to us. But when we wait for Him to tell us when to pick it up again, then if He does, He will use it mightily as we can't even imagine.  When we give something to Him, now He has the primary responsibility, and we just have the secondary responsibility, for it. An example he gave was of a girl whose younger, but bigger sister, borrowed her clothes without asking, stretched them all out of shape, and then rolled them in a ball and stuffed them under the bed.  The older sister decided to give her clothes to the Lord.  God takes very good care of what is His.  As long as the clothes were no longer hers, she didn't have to worry about them, or get mad if they were mistreated.  It was God's responsibility.  And she was prepared to thank the Lord in either case. But the sister, for the first time, washed and ironed the blouse and put it away.
     I was immediately reminded of "my" house.  It really irritates me sometimes to have to pick up after others.  I think, "If everyone would just put their own things away, everything would be so much better--and I would have so much more time, and there would be so much more peace--wouldn't that be nice?  And then I could concentrate on just taking care of my own things, which I have a hard enough time doing."  Well, another story shared in the Seminar helped me to see something else God was trying to show me.  He shared that when he was growing up, he wanted a neat bedroom, but his brother didn't care, and would never make his bed.  This really irritated him, until one day God said to him, "Do you love your brother?"  To which he thought, "Sure, I love my brother." And God said, "Why don't you prove you love him and make his bed for him."   And he did--and while doing this act for his brother, God gave him a new love for his brother!  But he thought, what if I have to make his bed for the rest of my life, to which God said, "Aren't you planning to love your brother forever?"
     So, this is how that related to my house.  Let me explain to you something. Years ago I trained my children to clean the house--A Long Time Ago-- and they've been doing it ever since, every week--sometimes the schedule was different, but for a long time now it's been: Tuesdays are bathrooms, Thursdays and Fridays everything else, Dane dusts, cleans one bathroom and vacuums Everything, up and down, because we have a very heavy industrial vacuum; Kelsey does what we call "Glass Plussing" (everything that can't be cleaned with a wood cleaner) because that's what we used to use when they were little, and cleans 2 bathrooms, sweeps and washes the kitchen and entryway floors. They used to also take turns doing the dishes every night, Thoroughly cleaning up the kitchen. (Well, I help, of course, but they have responsibility for the large chunk of it)  Everything went along very smoothly after awhile, and I got very used to it, and I started to do other things and we started having lots and lots of large groups at our home, and many other things we were able to host, because I knew my house would be clean, and I could work on other things. Everyone knew their responsibilities, and did them. Well, Then, One day, All of a Sudden, my children grew up. And they got busy and my son works every day and... so it's not getting done routinely, the way it used to. And there's a temptation to get angry when things aren't done completely, or I'm counting on it getting done, and it doesn't, because things aren't getting done the way they should be (yes, there's that expectation with a capital "E"). It's not too bad if you're not expecting anything, but...And this is just what he was talking about in the Seminar--expectations not given to the Lord cause anger when not fulfilled! So... the Lord convicted me and I gave my house, and my right to have it cleaned by my children who still live in it, and my right to have a clean and orderly house in the first place, and every other "right" related to that house, to the Lord.
     I couldn't help but hear God saying to me, "Do you love your family?  Why don't you prove you love them and clean the house for them?"  I pictured myself keeping the house clean and creating a loving, orderly environment for them, and I pictured myself smiling.  God said to me, your attitude makes all the difference!  We need to stop "expecting" them to do things, and getting angry when they don't!  Instead, I we will be sweetly doing things for them, out of love in our hearts, and love towards God, and it will be an act of love, not a burden!  Also, giving the house to God, then whether "He keeps it clean" and repaired or not, that's His problem (I am not the primary one responsible:) and I'm prepared to thank Him either way, knowing He is the One in control, and has some purpose for me in allowing it if He doesn't--How freeing!!
     One other note on that was that it was pointed out that there's a difference and a balance needed between a "right" and a "responsibility":  Example: I have to give to the Lord my "right" to be honored by my children, but still fulfill my "responsibility" to train them to honor their father and mother.  When children are little, and they have responsibilities that they are "expected" to do, there needs to be a consequence for not doing them.  But anger from mom or dad is not the consequence!  James says, "The anger of man does not work the righteousness of God."  And that is very true.  We should "expect" first-time obedience from our children, and should have clearly spelled-out and understood consequences for disobedience (and have defined what "obedience" means) and then let the consequences do their work.  It is when we find ourselves repeating and nagging that we get angry!

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