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Posts Tagged ‘ownership’

In the work I do ownership is a key concept. I help heavy industrial plants become more reliable.  In the majority of plants we see a “renter’s mentality” rather than a sense of ownership in the work being performed.  This is not to disparage people who find themselves in a situation where they must rent a place to live.  I have been both a renter and an owner and I know that my attitude toward the property is different depending upon my position.  The value I have for the property is higher if I own it than just renting it.  We have found this to be true in the workplace as well.  Employees who feel closely engaged with their work, who have a genuine sense that what they do, think, and say matters are better at what they do.  The results from the owner mentality plants is consistently superior to those where the work is just a way to earn money.  This is a truth that applies in all areas of life.

A quick scan of other areas where ownership versus participation makes a difference – marriage, parenting, friendships, our faith.  They are all made richer if we are fully engaged.  In Jeremiah God says “you will seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.”  Ownership is a whole heart activity.  The phrase “God has no grandchildren” gave me pause when I first heard it.  I now understand it to mean that God desires and freely offers the intimacy of being His child to anyone who would come to Him.  We cannot simply rely on the faith of others like our parents, but we must own our relationship with Him.

Let me highlight just a few of the components that I have observed about ownership.

1) Ownership takes effort.  I own a home which means I always have a list of things that need to be done.  There are those activities that are maintenance to keep things functioning as they should and there are those which will improve the home.  This is equally true in our work, marriage, and faith.

2) I don’t know everything that needs to be done, nor am I an expert at doing everything that needs to be done, but I am responsible.  Around my house I do as many of the tasks as I can.  In a few cases I can get instructions from owner manuals, from the internet, or from experts and then I do the task.  I repaired a rototiller last spring with help from Google.  However I have an air conditioner that isn’t cooling.  I will call an expert today and get them to come and repair it.  The point here is that as an owner I can’t sit around and wait for someone else to get the work done.  Complaining is not going to solve the situation.  I have to do the work.

3) I am neither the only owner nor am I the most experienced.  My wife and I are co-owners of our home.  There are some things that she has more knowledge and ability on.  Some are my expertise.  Some we have to seek the experience of others.  I can learn from others to be a better owner.  I call my Dad from time to time to get his advice.  He has been an owner for a lot longer than me and he helps me avoid pitfalls.  I also talk to my neighbors and weigh their advice into the ownership decisions I make. 

4) Ownership has rewards.  Since I own my home I can install a swing for my grandson if I wish.  Hearing him chuckle as he swings is a great reward.  Adding landscaping or a garden to rental property is not right since your investment is simply given to the owner of the property.  But in your own home this provides beauty and value to your property and enjoyment to you and your family. 

5) As an owner I have a direct impact upon the “total cost of ownership”.  As a renter I have to pay the negotiated rent – period.  I may have some latitude on utilities, but after I decide where to rent I have no influence on the cost.  As an owner I have some flexibility in my expenses.  Ultimately I have a significant cost to be paid back, but I have options on how I structure this.  I also have discretion on extra expenses that may arise like do I add an extra room, do I remodel a bathroom, etc.

6) Owners value what they own because it is theirs.  Renters do not hold a high value for what they rent because it is not theirs.

I have taken a lot of time spelling out this difference in perspective because I see it in so many areas of life.  Beyond home ownership, I see it in how people treat conservation.  Even with so much encouragement to value the environment many still trash the earth.  I have already mentioned that within the work place we clearly see the positive difference it makes when employees have that sense of ownership.  A marriage cannot be successful without both parties owning the union. 

In our relationship with the Lord, ownership comes in as well.  God is our Creator and Sustainer.  We would not be if it weren’t for His intentional thought toward us.  And we would immediately cease to exist if He pulled His continuing love and kindness away.  However He does not force a relationship upon us.  He gives us good reason to enter in and He draws us with His love, but He gives us the right to choose.  The longer we wait, the longer we live in a renter like relationship with Him.  We can exist in that mode, but we miss out on so much living.  God intended us to own the lives He has given us, to be fully engaged.  Even though He is our Creator and Sustainer, He gives us a life to live on purpose for Him.  We have an owner’s manual (the Bible) and an expert (the Holy Spirit) to ask for guidance, but ultimately God leaves ownership decisions to us. 

If you are not His child, I encourage you to ask Him to help you to know Him.  He loves you and is calling you to a richer, fuller life than you have ever imagined.  If you are His, but life feels more like a rental and you do not value who you are or what you do, then by all means call out to God and ask Him to help you understand what it means to own the life He has given you.  I urge you to read “The Purpose-driven Life” by Rick Warren.  It is an outstanding supplement to the owner’s manual I mentioned before as Rick illustrates 40 key points that help us understand why we are here and how we can own this life we’ve been given.  My oldest daughter is half-way through the Purpose-driven life and you can read about her journey in her blog – growingthroughchrist.wordpress.com. 

Have a blessed day today as you take ownership of the life you’ve been given.

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