“In the neighborhood we lived in before moving here,” Stan began, “there was one particular house that was kind of run-down.”
Continuing, he said, “It had been a rental for many years. The various tenants didn’t take very good care of it, and the owner didn’t either.”
“I’ve seen that in a lot in places I’ve lived,” I responded.
“Not uncommon,” Stan said, “but one day, we began to see all sorts of work at that house. Workers were all over the place fixing it up.”
“Do you know why that happened?” I asked.
“Turns out,” Stan replied, “the house had been sold, a couple had bought it, and they were going to live there, not just rent it out to others.”
“The difference of living in what you own,” I said.
“Exactly,” Stan replied. “And I saw the same thing in John’s gospel account of something Jesus said about the difference between an owner and a non-owner, and the importance for me to take ownership of my relationship with God through Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“Jesus was using an analogy of the difference between one who owns sheep versus one who is just hired to watch over them. The one who is hired, rather than owns, just doesn’t care as much. Jesus put it in terms of the person who is hired fleeing and leaving the sheep alone as soon as trouble shows up.”
“And how does this relate to your relationship with God?” I asked.
“I have to take ownership of it,” Stan replied. “If I don’t make it my own, if I am just kind of wandering along on the basis of other people’s relationship with God, it’s not going to work as well as God wants. I need to have a commitment to seek and to take care of an ever-deepening relationship with God.”
“Kind of like the renter versus the owner,” I said. “The pride of ownership makes a difference.”
“Not just the pride of ownership,” Stan replied, “but making the investment to own, to be able to claim it as mine. Some people prefer to not have the responsibility of ownership, but for me, I have learned that the efforts of being able to claim my relationship with God as belonging to me and to me alone is valuable beyond measure.”
Concluding, he said, “I have to be willing to take the time and to give the effort that is required to have an ever-deepening relationship with God through Christ and the Holy Spirit. It won’t happen all by itself. I have to claim and take ownership of it!”
He who is a hireling, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them, and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling, and is not concerned about the sheep. John 10:12, 13.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want to have a personal relationship with me through your Son Jesus. Thank you that you want me to take ownership of that relationship by taking it personally and seriously so that you can do in and through me exactly what you want. I confess that too often I do not take our relationship as seriously as you intend for it to be ever-deepening. Please forgive me. And please, Father, help me in following every step of your lead into as deep a relationship as you have available. Help me in taking full ownership of that relationship in that I value it and take it seriously. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: What does it look like for you to take full ownership of your relationship with God the Father through Christ Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit? Are you interested in making the investment of time and effort that is required for it to be as good as possible?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.