By Clint Morgan
Parents do not have to teach a child at least two words. The first is no. From the time a baby begins to crawl and pull up, parents use the word no so often it becomes locked in their brains through sheer repetition. It makes sense that children know this word.
The second word they know innately is a mystery to me. How does a child learn the word mine? As soon as they began to interact with others, this word swoops down out of nowhere and slides off their tongues with clarity and conviction. We have all heard it—two or three children are playing together, and one attempts to play with the toy or possession of another. “Mine!” The shriek pierces the air like a tornado siren. And it is often repeated, louder and more frequently: “Mine…Mine…MINE!”
The declaration of possession seldom brings finality to the dispute. In fact, both owner and offender use the word with the same vim and vigor. Often, parents come to the rescue, taking the disputed object and placing it safely out of reach. Kids are sent on their unhappy way to find another object on which to stake a claim.
This attitude seems to stick with us through life. Adults may not be as quick to shout the possessive pronoun at ten decibels, but the attitude that accompanies the word comes through loud and clear.
I am afraid we also apply this possessive pronoun to salvation. We often act like we took it from God and are therefore the rightful owners, with no responsibility to share it with anyone else. Ponder that for a moment. When God’s Spirit moves us to share our faith, too often we reel it in tight and cry out Mine! in our spirits.
A simple question comes to mind: why should the good news of salvation stop with you...or me? Maybe we suffer from a severe case of “fallacy of ownership.” It isn’t our salvation! Salvation is a free gift, and it is a gift designed for sharing with all who are lost.
It’s time to stop acting like little children as it relates to the gospel. It is not mine, nor is it yours. God, who gave it to us, has commanded us to share it…without whining.
About the Writer: Clint Morgan has been director of Free Will Baptist International Missions since 2011. He and his wife served 30 years in Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, before transferring to Europe to work with Muslims in France. Order his book, African Proverbs: Wisdom Without Borders: www.RandallHouse.com.