This is the first post in the “Core Concept” series.
My wife and I have the privilege of raising four great kids. At the time of this writing they range in age from pre-kindergarten to 6th grade. So, for all you parents out there, you can imagine the kid dynamics that take place in our home.
Through my years of parenting, it has been interesting to watch how the children form relationships with each other (and others), get into and solve conflicts, play together, handle disappointment and react to the demands of their parents’ life. Each one is so different from the other it makes it hard to believe they came from the same set of parents. I have noticed, however, they do have at least one thing in common…
a sense of what belongs to “me.”
The English language seems to have a heavy focus around the concept of possession. “She took my transformer!” “Those are her earrings!” “That basketball is mine!” “Get out of our room!” Kids seem to have this concept of possession built into their nature at an early age. Ever seen a couple of two year olds in a church nursery battle over a plastic toy car? Yikes! Don’t get into the middle of that one or you may leave with battle scars.
Adults don’t help matters because we tend to view the world in the same way. We model for our children that the rule of life is to work hard and push yourself so that we can amass a fortune…possessions…toys…things that we can be proud of and call our own. We gain great fulfillment and pleasure from these things and, just like little children, we get really upset if someone messes with our stuff.
The Earth Is The Lord’s
The reality of life is that none of this stuff really belongs to us. Psalm 24:1-2 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.” The Bible clearly says in this verse, God is the one who set up and created this whole world. All that is in it (its fullness) belongs to Him. All of us who live on the earth belong to Him. Every invention and accomplishment of man through all of history, has its origins in a God who gave us the mind power and physical ability to make it happen.
The coffee pot with the cool technology that allows it to turn on at 5:00 am before you are out of bed at 5:15 doesn’t really belong to you…it’s God’s. Your reliable automobile that you take to work each morning doesn’t belong to you…it’s God’s. The money that you make each week at your job doesn’t belong to you…it’s God’s. Your bank account, your baseball card collection, your 401(k), your jet skis, your second house at the beach, your remodeled $30,000 kitchen…it’s all God’s.
I’m a Steward For God
When you think about life with this perspective, it changes your relationship to everything around you. You are no longer the owner of your stuff, you become the asset manager of God’s stuff. The Bible calls this being a steward. You don’t own it, you just take care of it. And, as an asset manager at an investment firm would say, you want to do the best you possibly can for your client because if you do a good job, your client will probably give you more to manage.
I believe the foundation of personal finance and wise money management has to begin with this understanding.
It will radically change how you look at everything around you.
It’s all His.
Let’s begin to drop this word from our vocabulary. Enjoy “Finding Nemo” fans!