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It's Not Mine, It's A Loaner
By Mike Bauml

Recently Karen Verderber, who is in charge of our Charities Ministry, placed a book into my hands. It is entitled, The Kingdom Assignment: What Will You Do With The Talents God Has Given You? by Denny and Leesa Bellesi. It tells the story of a parish minister who gave 100 people $100 each to use for the advancement God's Kingdom. It is like a religious makeover of the movie "Pay It Forward."

Once I opened this book, I couldn't put it down. I was moved by the descriptions of how lives were changed as these Christians executed their assignment. One person provided religious literature to thousands of souls in undeveloped nations. Another individual convinced friends and family to contribute to the many worthy projects he undertook. One man simply put the $100 dollar bill in his wallet, gave it away, and replaced it with another over and over again.

On two pages in the middle of the book the authors contrast the concepts of ownership and stewardship. The Bellesi's explain that owners tend to be controlling. Owners' lives center around their possessions: how to protect their things, how to store them, how to insure their safety, how to maintain them, etc. Ironically, instead of controlling their possessions, these people end up being controlled by them.

Owners also tend to be prideful and covetous. Self-centered, they enjoy showing off what they have, to prove they are better than other people. Sadly, the owning and amassing of possessions makes up a large part of what we call "the American dream."

Stewards, on the other hand, more easily live without a lot of material things. Stewards are interested in the work of the Lord and understand that all good things come from God. These individuals tend to be humble, less attached to their possessions, and more likely to be generous and other-centered. They are truly concerned with the welfare of people around them.

We came into this world without material objects, and we will leave this world without them. If you think about it, all of our possessions are really loaned to us by God. Everything actually belongs to Him. That means the chair in which you now sit is a loaner; the clothes that you wear are loaners; your house is a loaner; your wallet or purse and the money in it are loaners.

When we realize that our possessions are loaners, our attitude towards them becomes extremely important. What things do we really need? What things can we live without? How can we use what we have to benefit the lives of other people?

This book taught me that we all have a "kingdom assignment." Will we be owners or stewards? When it is our time to enter God's heavenly kingdom, will He greet us as good and faithful servants (recall the parable of the talents)? Or will He tell us that we have already received our reward during our earthly life (recall the parables of the rich man and the man that built bigger barns)? Each of us must decide what we want to hear.

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