I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts the other day. One of the sponsors was a company that enabled people to rent out their homes to other people, like a hotel. Now I knew that this was a real thing because my family has used this type of service several times in the past.
This ad caught my ear because it was a little different. It wasn’t trying to convince me to use this service to book my next vacation get-away. This ad was trying to get me to become a host. The ad talked about the ability to rent out my home, whenever it was convenient for my schedule. Like, when my family was going away on vacation. This was the perfect opportunity to rent out my home to someone else, for their vacation. In fact, they promoted it as a way to actually fund my family’s vacation.
As I was listening I started thinking just how much I would dislike having strangers stay in my house, with all of my stuff, while I was away on vacation. This then got me to thinking that if someone would have told me, when I was younger, that there was going to be a multi-million-dollar industry, built on renting private homes to other people, I wouldn’t have believed them. Afterall, hotels were created by God for this very purpose.
This, in turn, got me to thinking about why I disliked this idea so much. For me, this type of thinking isn’t about judgment or condemnation or even validation. For me, this type of thinking is simply about clarification. I wanted to better understand why I felt so strongly about renting out my house, while I was away on vacation.
As I drove I didn’t listen to the podcast. For I was too busy thinking about why the idea of renting out my house, while I was on vacation, bothered me so much. Several reasons immediately popped into my mind. First, my home is my sanctuary. It’s my safe place. It’s the place where the outside world enters, only upon my invitation. Thus, for me, allowing strangers to take up residence in my home, in my safe place, would make it a little less safe.
Second, my home is filled with my stuff. What would I do with all my clothes? What about my furniture? Would others know the proper placement of the throw pillows in the living room? What about the pool? Would there be kids peeing in it? And my grill? Would these strangers know how to use it and clean it?
As I contemplated the fact that I detested the idea of renting out my home, while I was on vacation, I compiled an extensive list of completely valid reasons. Yet, upon closer inspection, this extensive list of completely valid reasons revealed something about me. Something that I probably already knew, but had never before been forced to examine. This something that was revealed about me has a direct correlation to my relationship with stuff. Which, in turn, this something that was revealed about me has a direct correlation to my relationship with God.
I learned that I struggle with the conceptual difference between something I possess and something that I own. It’s a stewardship issue. I struggle with the fact that, from the perspective of someone who is a follower of Jesus, I am a steward of my possessions, not the owner of them.
The idea of renting out my house, while on vacation to complete strangers, forced me to realize a glaring truth in my life and my relationship with God. I haven’t given up ownership of my stuff. I possess my stuff in an ownership – I earned it, I deserve it, it is mine – way. I have an ownership perspective and remain fiercely territorial, concerning what I deem as mine.
Instead of having a stewardship perspective – everything I have and everything I am is a gift from God to be used for the glory of God – way. Thus, through this clarification process, in response to an innocuous podcast ad, I was convicted by the desire to grow in this stewardship perspective. I desire to lose my fiercely territorial, ownership perspective, when it comes to my life and my stuff.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)
As of the writing of this blog, I would still never rent out my house to complete strangers, while I am on vacation. Even if it does fund my whole vacation. This fact may never change and I am okay with that. But, I am pressing on to take hold of a transformed perspective regarding my stuff. I am living into the fact that, as a follower of Jesus, I don’t have to give up possession of my stuff. I have to give up ownership of it.