Week 3- Mine, Mine, Mine à His, His, His
So if you have missed the past couple of weeks, we have been in a series called “Happy, Happy, Happy” where we are looking at this issue of entitlement vs. contentment. Two weeks ago, we defined entitlement as something we think we deserve or have a right to simply because of who we are, societal expectations or what we think everyone else has. We might feel entitled to stay up later because we are older, have an iphone because all of our friends have them, or we can even feel entitled to things like revenge. Our sinful nature says “I want what I want, when I want it, and I won’t be happy until I do” and this is something we are all guilty of. As Christians, however, we are called to contentment, this idea that we don’t deserve anything (except the wrath of God as sinful human beings), but that anything we are given is a gift from our Father in Heaven. Contentment says I am and will be grateful for whatever I have. This is where our theme verse comes in. Paul, while in prison, is writing to the Philippian church and says, “for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have” (Philippians 4:11). Paul continues to say that he knows what it is like to have both plenty and nothing. He has known prisonment and freedom, wealth and poverty and yet he has learned to be content. Wow!
This issue of wanting more, which is what Todd talked to us about last week is engrained in us from such a young age and we see it all around us. AT&T has launched a campaign around this issue. We have all seen the commercials that say “It’s not complicated, more is better”. But yet many will strive their whole life searching for the “more” but will never be content, never be satisfied. Why not? Because they weren’t meant to. Only God can truly satisfy us and fulfill the deepest desires of our hearts.
Tonight, I want us to talk about this idea of mine, mine, mine. This is another word that is engrained in us from an early age, for many of us, it is one of our first words, and it certainly carries through to adulthood. In our clip we watched, we saw how Willie had something and though he was quick to rub it in the guys faces, he wasn’t about ready to let them touch it. Why? “This is mine” he says. If we were honest with ourselves, don’t we say this a lot? We guard our possessions, especially our seemingly valuable ones, with our life. We put passwords on our computers/phones, we don’t want people to borrow our clothes (especially our siblings!) and we hoard belongings to the point of being “buried alive” as the television show suggests. And then you have brands such as Cheez-Its that encourage this idea of mine with their slogan “Get Your Own Box!”
Many of you know that when I lived in Knoxville, I was a foster mom to a 17-year old teenager named Shanna. She was constantly borrowing clothes, scarves or shoes of mine. She also borrowed my ipod/phone and headphones. Many times I had a hard time giving them up. Why? Because they were mine and I didn’t want her to lose them or mess them up or worse I wanted to use them! The worst was teaching her how to drive. Because that meant giving her control of my car!!
If you are like me, you like and value your stuff (especially if you financially invest in it yourself), but such an attitude will only lead us further away from the Cross of grace and forgiveness and redemption. When I lived in England, I had the opportunity to spend time in an all girls’ school. One time while I was there, I was in a class with girls about your age and we were talking about our worldviews. I went around the table and asked each of them what their worldview was and one of them said “Me-ism”. I asked her to tell me a little bit about that, and she said, “whatever makes me happy and lets me do what I want to do, that’s my worldview”. I was blown away. Not many of us are as honest as this young woman was, but if we were honest, I would say many of us carry this mentality in our hearts. That’s the danger of the mine mentality.
Let’s look again at the rich man in the gospel of Luke. Jesus is telling a parable (a story meant to teach a lesson). I am reading from Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
Why did Jesus call this man a fool? I believe it was because he had great wealth, which in itself is not bad. The Bible says in James 1:17 that “every good and perfect gift is from above…”. God is the provider of all that we have, but he gives us things to use for Him and for His Kingdom. Not to hoard and keep to ourselves, but to use for the good of others. This, I believe, is why the man was a fool. He had so much wealth, but instead of using it for the Kingdom of God, he kept it to himself. Here is where his sense of entitlement came from. He worked hard so he deserved to take a rest and to enjoy it. But notice what God says.
’20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
Paul in his letter to Timothy 1 Tim. 6:17-19 says something similar, 17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
If we were to watch the rest of the Duck Dynasty episode, we would see that Jase and the others become obsessed with the samurai sword and not only use it but end up breaking it. They try, unsuccessfully to fix it, first by taking it to a pawn shop, then by gluing it back together, then by welding it. The result is that none of these remedies work, Jase and Si get found out, and Willie has no more sword. In typical Robertson family fashion they come together in the end and make a joke of it while eating around the table, but I think we can learn a lesson from them. The things we hold on to in life will never satisfy us no matter how much we think or hope they will.
So what is the takeaway? What should we do with the things that we do have?
1. Recognize that everything we have is not ours but His. Remember our verse in James, Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17 Everything that we have is not ours (mine) but rather His.
2. Be grateful for what you do have. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.”
3. Use what He has given you to help one another. Look at the example in Acts 2:42-45 2 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper[a]), and to prayer.43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.