CHAPTER 2

“What’s Mine is Mine.  What’s Yours is Mine Too!”

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People with this thinking error may not be outspoken enough to say it out loud, but this is what they are really thinking. They think that what's theirs is theirs alone, but whatever is yours is theirs too – if they want it. They understand the concept of ownership, but they just feel that if they really want something – it should be theirs.  And they don’t think they should have to work to get it.  If they don’t get what they want, they believe they have been treated unfairly.  If other people stand in the way of what they want, they presume they have the right to obtain it – by any means.

This thinking error is connected with a person’s mental attitude regarding the work ethic.  Those with this mindset show no respect for the efforts, industry, and accomplishments of other people. They don’t recognize boundaries.  They have a spirit of entitlement – and if they want it, they will simply take it.
                                                                                                             
Society has contributed to this thinking error.  What about the bankruptcy system that forgives our debts if we find ourselves in a financial bind? What about a government that seems to give public assistance forever to individuals and families? What about the medical care anyone can get when they walk into an emergency room, even when they don’t pay? What about ministries that give food to the poor, but never really do anything to help them get of out the cycle of poverty?

If we're poor, we believe we deserve handouts from the government. If we're rich, we think we need a tax break. If we’re employees, we want our employer to give us better benefits. If we’re bankers, we apply for a bailout in tough times. If we’re farmers, we expect subsidies. If we’re a special interest group, we seek special treatment.

A big spiritual issue for people who feel the world owes them something is that they become dependent on the world to provide for their needs (and wants) instead of God. Another spiritual issue with this thinking error is covetousness.

One key to overcoming this thinking error is to develop a spirit of contentment.  If we learn to be content with the blessings God has so graciously given to each one of us personally, we won’t be looking at what everyone else has and finding ways to make what’s theirs our own.

1. Could you imagine the cultural revolution that would evolve in our country if people began to call anything God gave them beyond their basic necessities “blessings” instead of “entitlements”?  Read 1 Timothy 6:7-8.
  a) What have we brought into this world?
   
  b) What are we going to carry out of this world?
   
  c) Today we have a constant hunger for more and more, better and better.  What did Paul advise Timothy regarding this?
   

2. Read Hebrews 13:5-6.  Often covetousness and greed are excused or even admired in today's culture, and are simply called "ambition." Someone asked millionaire Bernard Baruch, "How much money does it take for a rich man to be satisfied?" Baruch answered, "Just a million more than he has."
  a) Hebrews 13:5a indicates that contentment includes a freedom from
   
  b) When we are discontented and dissatisfied, one of the first thoughts that we might entertain is that God has abandoned us, that He does not care about us, that He has not blessed us.  Why are we told we should be content? (vs. 5b)
   
  c) What will characterize a contented person? (vs. 6)
   

3. The discontented person seeks to fill the God-shaped vacuum within by acquiring things which never satisfy. Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 for contentment clues.
  a) What did Solomon discover about money?
    (vs. 10)
  b) In what way did Solomon say riches interfere with a person’s life?
    (vs. 12)
    (vs. 13)
    (vs. 14)
  c) To what is the attempt to accumulate compared?
    (vs. 15-16)
  d) With a sympathetic touch, what does Solomon tells us may be the life even for those who have great wealth?
    (vs. 17)
  e) What happens to the contented person according to verses 19-20?
   

4. The Apostle Paul was forced to live in numerous places. Conditions and provisions varied greatly. He traveled back and forth between luxury and poverty. Study his comments in Philippians 4:10-20.
  a) Was Paul a naturally contented person?
   
  b) List the circumstances in which Paul learned to be content. (vs. 12) 
   
   
   
   
   
   
  c) Why was Paul able to adjust so easily?
   
  d) What did Paul say to encourage the Philippians who had sent gifts to him? (v. 19)
   

5. What advice would you give a person operating under the “What’s Yours Is Mine” thinking error?
 

Continue to Chapter 3

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