A Question of Ownership
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
November 22, 2018
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39
Otto Koning was a missionary in New Guinea. He worked among a native tribe that had known only their village ways. One of those village ways was stealing from others. When Otto and his wife arrived and moved into a hut, the natives often came by to visit. The Konings would notice that after the natives left the missionaries' home, various household items had disappeared. They saw these items again when they went to preach in the natives' village.
The only fruit Otto could grow on the island was pineapples. Otto loved pineapples, and he took pride in the pineapples he was able to grow. However, whenever the pineapples began to ripen, the natives would steal them. Otto could never keep a ripe pineapple for himself. This was a frustration, and he became angry with the natives. All during the seven-year period in which this took place, Otto preached the gospel to these natives, but never had a conversion.
The more the natives stole, the angrier Otto became. Finally, one day Otto had a German Shepherd dog flown in from another missionary to protect his pineapple garden after other frustrated efforts failed. This only further alienated the natives from him.
Otto took a furlough to the United States and attended a conference on personal rights. At this conference, he discovered that he was frustrated over this situation because he had taken personal ownership of his pineapple garden. After much soul searching, he gave his garden to God. Soon the natives started having problems among their tribe. They discovered that Otto was the reason for their problems because he gave his garden to his God. The natives saw a correlation between what Otto had done and their own lives being affected by calamities in their village. When Otto gave his garden to God, he no longer got angry and was free from worry. The natives started bringing him fruit from the garden because they didn't want any more calamities to come into their village.
The light came on one day when a native said to Otto, "You must have become a Christian, Otto. You don't get angry anymore. We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian." They had never associated Otto with the kind of person he was preaching about because his message did not line up with his life. Otto was broken in spirit when he realized he had been such a failure.
At the end of seven years, he witnessed his first conversion, and many began coming to Christ once he fully gave his garden to God. The fruit grew so abundant that Otto began exporting it and growing other types of fruit, such as bananas. His village became the most evangelized in the whole region, yet for seven years he had not one convert.
Otto realized something each of us must realize: To gain your life you must lose it, along with your possessions. It was only when he gave all his possessions to God that he became free from them. God measured back to him manifold once He had complete ownership.
Do you have some possessions that you need to give up to God today? Let God have all that you have. Become a steward, not an owner. You will be surprised at how well God can take care of His possessions.
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Paul was a tentmaker by trade. But he had an overall ministry
objective in his business life. That objective left him
imprisoned and persecuted at times. But Paul saw these events
not as roadblocks to his mission. Rather, they were catalysts to
advancing the cause of Christ. Paul’s revelation of this kept
him from despairing about his circumstances.
One day a
little-known pastor who lived in the small African nation of Benin began to
pray for his Marxist president. For two years he prayed. Then the Lord told
the pastor to go to meet this president and share the gospel with him. The
president rejected the gospel, but after another such occasion, the
president accepted the gospel and became a Christian. He was removed from
power but was discipled by this pastor. Sometime later this same president
was elected again. Today that president is now a Christian leader of a
nation committed to spreading the gospel throughout his nation. One man –
yet millions have been affected by his obedience. This modern-day story is
retold in countless lives of those willing to live for a cause greater than
Are your work and life experiences serving to advance the
gospel? What experiences has God allowed in your life that are part of His
plan to advance the gospel? Ask Him to help you see your life the way He
sees it. Seeing our life the way God sees it will help us avoid
discouragement in those times when life appears to be a mystery to us.
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