After a few weeks posting about church issues, I’m going to jump back into the life lessons I learned during my season of burn out. When I was younger there was a bumper sticker that stated, “He who has the most toys – wins.” It always made me smile, because of the way it poked fun at society’s emphasis on the accumulation of more stuff. But that bumper sticker also struck me as being pretty accurate – brutally honest, in fact – about how we really think about our lives. We are trained to believe that we can own things and sometimes we even entertain the idea that we can own people in this life. We grow up pretty much believing that the more we own, the more we win. We brag about our latest “toys.” We puff out our chests when we perform a little better than our opponent in an athletic competition, and we actually boast, “I owned that guy.” When you think about it, we believe we “own” quite a bit. Deep down we believe we have mastery over the dimension, the direction, and the destiny of all our stuff. We like to think we control how big our “toys” will be, where they will be stored, and how much we will get to enjoy them. We live as if we “own” how big our pet projects will be, and what they will mean for this world. Deeper still we live as if we have mastery over what will and won’t happen to the people in our lives. We function as if we “own” the how, the where, and the what of our spouses, kids, and friends lives.
But how much do we really “own” anyone or anything? Do we really control the dimensions of the things we get to enjoy in life? We certainly have the ability to fixate on, and invest everything we have to pursue certain goals at the cost of everything else in our lives, but when we arrive at the achievement of those goals – don’t our goals end up owning us more than we own them? Do we really control the destiny of the people in our lives? Do we have mastery over the enjoy-ability, and durability of the toys we own? These are hard questions, but they’re questions we need to ask.