This morning as I was getting my bowl of cereal, the funniest thing happened...
As I opened the pantry door and reached for the container of frosted flakes a large package of Oreos caught my eye. Now, everyone in our house knows that Oreos are my favorite. But, what was really interesting about this pack of chocolate and cream filled delight was what was written on the top: NRTB. My sons initials. Apparently he went shopping yesterday and brought these home to enjoy. But, instead of sharing with everyone, he claimed them as his own by writing his initials on the top. He claimed his stake and let everyone know not to touch. These were his.
As I looked at the tasty treats, I couldn’t help but smile. And then, I thought of something really profound that challenged me to the core. As silly as it sounds, I think many of us do this exact thing in our lives. Let me explain...
You see, my son worked hard for the money he spent to get his snack. He probably even even saved up for a while knowing how expensive these cookies are. He felt that he needed to protect his property. “These are mine. I want to enjoy them and no one else can have any.” What he may not have realized is that, as his Dad, I could go and buy 1,000 packages of cookies any time I wanted. In the case of cookies, I don’t have the same limitations that he does in the ability to buy these. I could buy more cookies than he could count. But yet, he still felt the need to label the cookies as his.
Then God whispered to me...”Don’t be too hard on him. Aren't you the same way?” You see, I work hard every day to provide for myself and our family. Building a business. Building a house. Paying a mortgage. Buying clothes and food. Car payments. You name it. And as I go through each day, I hold tight to what “I’ve created and acquired”. I don’t want to let it go. It’s mine.
How often does God look at me, smile, and say “My son, don’t you know everything is mine. I can have anything I want at any time. And believe it or not, I don’t want to take anything from you. I want to add to the fullness and joy in your life, not take away. But, never forget that true joy is found by being you being close to me and me to you.”
How would my thoughts toward my son have been different if he had come home from the store and said “Hey, I got some Oreos for everyone. I hope you enjoy them.”? I know I would be proud of my son and probably, in some way, want to give him even more for his sacrifice and maybe even go back to the store and buy two more packages of cookies.
How would God’s thoughts toward me be different if I said every morning “Father, everything I am and everything I have is yours. Enjoy!”. I believe He would be pleased with a heart of sacrifice and gratitude. And while He’s certainly not obligated, I believe He would pour out even greater opportunities and blessings.
That’s the difference between a scarcity mindset and an abundance mindset. Scarcity believes “when it’s gone, it’s gone so I better hold onto mine as long as I can.” Abundance believes “there’s more than enough and giving is the pathway to even more”.
My hope is that even in the midst of the work and striving I remember that God’s desire is to bless. And the greatest blessing is found when we move past saying “they're mine God...don’t touch” and give all we are and all we have to him.
I probably won’t have a cookie today. But, I’ll give my best not to keep the cookies from others.