Let me start out by reading you a dog’s diary. And then I will read you a cat’s diary.
Excerpts from a Dog’s Diary
8am – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30am – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40am – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30am – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
Lunch – My favorite thing!
1:00pm – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00pm – Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!
5:00pm – Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00pm – Got to play ball! My favorite thing!
8:00pm – Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!
11:00pm – Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!
Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary
Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape.
This is really one of the best illustrations I can give you about perspective. Same owners, same life, but these two pets had a totally different idea of life simply because of their perspective.
Three Truths About Perspective
#1 How we view things determines how we do things.
In other words, my behavior is a result of my perspective.
#2 When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.
When we don’t like what someone else is doing, we automatically start thinking about what they need to change. We may talk to them about it, or we may just tell others.
But turns out, you can’t change people. But you can change you. And when you change the way you look at the other person, the other person might just begin to change.
#3 What I believe about life determines how I perceive life, which determines what I receive from life.
What I want to focus in on today is our perspective on possessions. Let’s start by looking at the story of the good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30-37 MSG
There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
In this story, we see three of the four perspectives that people have about possessions.
The Robber Perspective
What is yours is mine and I’m going to take it.
I don’t think we need to hang out here because I am going to assume that most of us live our lives a little higher than that.
Can I go on, or do I need to stay here?
I don’t want to assume things. But to be honest with you, all of us have a little robber in us. If you don’t believe me, go observe a few toddlers playing together.
Here’s how toddlers think:
If I like it, it’s mine.
If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
If I had it awhile ago, it’s mine.
If I say it’s mine, it’s mine.
If it looks like mine, it’s mine.
If you’re having fun with it, it’s mine.
If you lay it down, it’s mine.
If it’s broken, it’s yours.
You see, we are all born into sin. And we all have a little robber on the inside of us who gets envious and selfish and wants to take things from people we think don’t deserve it.
Probably the way we do this the most as adults is when someone else has more than us, we think they should give some to those who don’t have as much.
As a young adult, I can remember thinking this about some family members. They were well off and Beth and I were struggling. I just couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t give us some of their surplus.
I’d think to myself, “They don’t need it, but I do! Here I am barely paying for groceries and they get to live in their nice house and go out to eat all the time.”
And it wasn’t until I stopped thinking like a toddler that things started to change in my life.
Here’s the second perspective about possessions:
The Religious Perspective
What is mine is mine and I’m going to keep it.
Let’s revisit this part of the story:
Luke 10:31 MSG – Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
This reminds me once again of children. And I’ll use my own to illustrate.
Just about every morning, when I sit down for breakfast with my one-year-old and three-year-old, I feel the need to do a little pestering. I don’t know what it is, but a deep need just rises up on the inside of me.
My one-year-old will just be sitting there smiling at me while eating her eggs, almond flour waffle, and blueberries.
In case you were wondering, yes, we pretty much have the same thing every morning. I’m the one that fixes breakfast and I think variety is vanity and a waste of time. So, my family has to deal with that.
Anyways, while we are all peacefully eating, I slowly reach my hand towards my one-year-old’s plate as if I am going to take her waffle. Her smile quickly turns into a frown and she says, “No, daddy! Addy’s wapple!”
Most of the time I do this just to fulfill the need to pester my kids. But I will occasionally turn this into a teaching moment where I remind them of three things:
- That’s actually daddy’s wapple because I bought it and prepared it for you.
- This is daddy’s show. So, just like I gave you that wapple, I can also take it away.
- Daddy doesn’t need your wapple because he can make another one.
But, of course, every parent loves those moments where their kids decide to share their food all on their own. And not because they didn’t like something, but because they are finally grabbing on to what you’ve been teaching them all this time.
You see, there are two incompatible words when it comes to possessions: selfishness and significance. Significance is all about others and selfishness is all about us.
These two things will never be found in the same person. Because, when you are caught in the perspective of “what is mine is mine and I am going to keep it”, there is no possibility that you will ever have a significant life.
In other words, selfish people cheat themselves. When you hold on to your possessions, all you are doing is cheating yourself.
You might think that I am making this up so you will give more to our church. But that’s not my motivation at all. I simply want you to know a supernatural truth that’s found in the Bible.
Proverbs 11:24 NLT – Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
You see, the problem in our culture today is not the have and have-nots. It’s the give-nots. It doesn’t matter if you have little or have a lot. If you are selfish with what you have, you’ll never live a life of significance.
Here’s the third perspective about possessions:
The Samaritan Perspective
What is mine is yours and I’m going to give it.
Now we are getting to where we all want to live our lives. Whether you are a giver right now or not, we all have the desire to be known as someone who cares for others.
The priest, Levite and Samaritan all saw the same problem. And they all had a reason not to help. The difference is, the priest and Levite had an inside perspective and the Samaritan had an outside perspective.
If I have an inside perspective, I see everything through the lens of “how will this affect me?” In other words, I’m always looking out for myself.
So, the priest and levite saw the man who needed help, but they were thinking, “How will this affect me? It would mess up my schedule to stop and help him, so I better just keep walking.”
You see, selfish people never want to be inconvenienced. The problem is, there is a lot of inconvenience in serving, loving and giving.
If I have an outside perspective, I’m thinking, “How will this affect others?” So, the Samaritan was thinking, “If I don’t stop, what will happen to this man?”
And then, the Samaritan most likely also thought, “If I don’t stop, what is going to happen to me?” He knew his heart would have become calloused if he didn’t stop, and he wasn’t willing to take that chance.
When you live a selfish life, you get to a point where you can see needs and not even care. Or, you start thinking to yourself, “They don’t deserve my help. They did it to themselves.”
And that might very well be true. The problem is, when you don’t share, when you don’t serve, and when you don’t give, the person that loses is you.
Albert Einstein once said, “A person first starts to live when he can live outside of himself.”
So I could imagine we would all like to be where the Samaritan is. How many of you think that’s a pretty good place to be?
I think it’s pretty good too. But can I take you to the next level? There’s actually a fourth perspective about possessions.
Before I tell you what it is, look at your neighbor and say, “You should strive for this level because I need these kind of people in my life.”
Alright, here it comes. I am about to give you life change right now. It’s going to stretch you, but I can promise you that if you grasp this Biblical principle, your life is going to improve beyond belief.
The Manager Perspective
What is mine is not mine and I’m going to manage it.
When I see someone who is having a hard time giving their time to God, or giving their talents to God, or giving finances to God, I know right off the bat that they do not have this perspective.
But here’s the deal. It’s not your money. It’s not your life. It’s not your gifts and talents. No, everything you have was given to you as a gift from God.
He created you. He gave you your body. He gave you your gifts and talents. He created everything that it takes to build a home, make a car, and provide jobs. Everything in this world belongs to God and he gave it to us as a gift.
You see, it’s not hard to let go of something that is not yours to begin with.
Psalms 24:1 NLT – The earth is the Lord ’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
This perspective will change your life!
This past Christmas, someone wanted to give a gift to someone in need. So, they packaged it up, put the right address on it, and had the delivery man come and pick it up.
A few days later, they found out the package never made it to the person who needed it. Turns out, the delivery man took it home. He not only took it home, but he opened it up.
When confronted about it, the delivery man replied, “I thought since you gave it to me, it was mine?”
We are God’s delivery team.
God blesses us so that we can bless others.
So, when God gives something to me, it’s not for me. He gives it to me so I can give it to you. God will only give to you what He knows will flow through you.
I can hear some of you thinking, “Kade, I get it. But there are so many needs and so many ways to give. How do I know when to give?”
Let me give you four questions you can ask yourself to guide your giving.
Does the leader have competence and character?
So, if you are going to give to a church or some other organization, you want to make sure that the leader has competence and character. Because everything rises and falls on leadership.
In other words, does the leader have the ability, knowledge and skill to do what needs to be done? And do they do things with integrity and excellence?
A good leader will do good things with your giving, just like a bad leader will do bad things with your giving.
Can I give more than dollars?
Can I roll up my sleeves and do something? And more times that not, the answer to this question will be yes.
It doesn’t mean it will be convenient, or something that gives you a high because you love it so much. But the thing is, when we serve, when we go about doing good, we are showing people Jesus.
And like we’ve talked about the last eight weeks, the ultimate purpose of every believer is to make a difference. And we’ve even been given the power of the Holy Spirit so we can be extremely effective as we go out and do good.
Actually, when you help someone else, Jesus takes it personally. When you feed the hungry, clothe the poor, serve in kids ministry, clean the restrooms, it’s as if you did it for Jesus himself.
He’s watching and He will reward you for all the good things you do. You’re going to get a reward in this life, and you are even going to get rewarded in Heaven.
Is this organization making a difference for others and me?
In other words, you want to sow into those organizations that are making a positive impact on your life. And you also want to look around and make sure it is making a positive impact on others lives as well.
Another way to ask this question is, “If this organization ceased to exist, would people miss it?”
I can tell you the answer to this regarding our church. The answer is yes. Our community would miss us, our state would miss us because we would no longer be supporting Don’t Look Back Prison Ministry.
Mexico would miss us. The Philippines would miss us. And the list goes on.
You may look around and wonder if we are making a difference because of our size. But size has nothing to do with it.
The truth is, the devil doesn’t fear a big church. He fears a united church.
And our church is more united than it’s ever been. God is pouring the foundation by bringing us all together in unity. Once the foundation is cured, He is going to set us loose.
We can’t even begin to imagine what God is going to do through our church. And you get to be a part of that.
How can I increase my giving?
To tell you the truth, most of us get this question backwards. We look at our bank accounts and budget and ask ourselves, “How can I decrease my giving to make all of this work?”
It’s really quite comical when you think about it. When having a money problem, the first and easiest thing to cross off your list is the giving part of your budget. Welp, I need this more than them!
This past Sunday, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a lengthy post from a good friend of mine whom I don’t get to see very often. He doesn’t post often, so I wanted to see what was going on.
Turns out, his wife has spent the past couple of months very sick. Like in the hospital, multiple surgeries and came close to death.
I had no idea this was even going on. And he wrote this post after they had already made it home and she was finally recovering.
They have three very young children, similar to Beth and I. Luckily, their family and church family stepped up and helped with the kids while they were in the hospital off and on for several months.
Needless to say, I could feel for them. Imagining juggling the care of three kids while my wife is in the hospital and could potentially die is just overwhelming.
As I finished reading the post, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me to give them a significant financial gift.
But, like we often do, I tried to find a way out of it first. I texted my friend and ask what they needed, and he told me everything was taken care of. So I just figured I’d wait until he actually told me they needed something.
Then, on Tuesday morning I was seeking direction from the Lord on what He wanted me to talk about today, and He led me to this message.
About an hour into preparing this message, the Holy Spirit reminded me what he asked me to do. He gave me a second chance, and I wasn’t going to blow it. I sent the exact amount the Holy Spirit prompted me to give.
So, now I realize this message was meant for me. So, thank you for hanging with me the past twenty minutes as the Holy Spirit straightened me out.
I’ve believed in giving and have even given the first 10% of my income to my church for the past 15 years. But there are still times I don’t get it right.
I forget to ask that last question, “How can I increase my giving?”
What’s funny about this is, if I look back over all the years that the Holy Spirit has prompted me to give far beyond my tithe, there’s never been one time that I missed what I gave away.
My family was always taken care of even when it seemed like the extra giving would cause a grocery crisis. But, just like God’s Word promises, everything I’ve given has eventually reaped a harvest of provision far beyond what I could have ever imagined.
If you want the kind of life where you don’t have to worry about financial provision and where you can be God’s delivery man, you have to adopt the Manager’s Perspective.
What’s mine is not mine and I am going to manage it.
Remember, you can’t be selfish and live a life of significance. And let me say it another way. You can’t be frugal and live a life of significance.
Holding on to “what’s mine” will never bring you the security and peace you are looking for. Because you will always need more and you will always be afraid of losing what you already have.
But change your perspective and simply see yourself as a manager of what belongs to God and your family will always be provided for while at the same time making a difference in the lives of those around you.
And for all my skeptics out there who hate talking about money and always assume that the only reason churches talk about money is to get some of yours, I get it. This is not an easy perspective to change.
But I believe, no matter how painful it is, you can adopt the Manager Perspective. And when you do, your going to look back and wonder why it took you so long.
I bring you all this message because I’m dedicated to helping you live your best life. And having the right perspective about possessions is a key element for you to get there.