Sunday, January 19, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 30: Outcome Ownership

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 30, January 19, 2014
Readings: Psalm 29, Genesis 27, 2 Chronicles 3, Luke 19:47-48, Luke 20:1-44

How often can we make a "sure bet?" If we're honest with ourselves, we can't ever make a sure bet. We can only be very confident. Because we don't know the future. Because we really don't know. But how often do we plan, and scheme, and manipulate as if we did?

I don't know about you, but I do it a lot. I'm an "INTJ" - and this is what my life looks like: "INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others." (

In other words, I plan. Extensively. Strategically. I'm always angling for a particular outcome. And my planning isn't for understanding, no, it's for application. Arriving at a result. But if I take a step back from my masterminding, I realize that for all my strategery, I have as much control of the outcome as a hamster has of his food supply. None.

And the sad part (for me) is that the Pharisees were like this too. They plotted and schemed, and came up with a sure-fire formula. Guaranteed to put them ahead of the pack. But instead, Jesus turned the tables and told this parable:

"A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. Then the owner of the vineyard said, 'What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.' But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, 'This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that thte inheritance may be ours.' And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others." (Luke 20:9-16)

These tenants had a plan. They had gotten so accustomed to running their own show that they decided they didn't need the owner. They, who had been given  the right to borrow property and it's bounty for a time, decided they wanted it all. The owner of a property is the master of the outcome of that property - it's purchase, sale and fruit. The tenants wanted to be owners. So they hatched a plan. They scorned the owner in hopes of stealing what was his. But what do they receive in the end? Justice for their deeds. And their illusion of control is swept away.

How many times do I try to wrest control from God? How often do I try to be the owner of the vineyard? The parable says nothing about the tenants being unhappy, or poorly treated. They agreed to rent the vineyard for a price. But instead of being satisfied, they became greedy. Gluttonous. Murderous.

God has given me many wonderful things - on loan. My family, my possessions, are gifts from God for me to steward. I do not own them, nor do I own their outcome. I can, and will care for my wife and kids. But I do not control who they become. I can, and will, care for the money and things God has given me. But I cannot control if they break, or deteriorate. And when God asks me to give of my possessions, my family, I need to bow to the owner of all things. All I have, my life and everything in it, is God's. I am merely a tenant. So the question I must ask myself, daily, is: Will I submit to the owner? 

No comments: