Toddler rules of ownership and sharing

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by Stan Mitchell

You might have seen this recently by Kevin McHugh:

Toddler Rules of Ownership and Sharing
1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
8. If I saw it first, It’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, automatically it becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.
11. If it is broken, but you are having fun playing with the pieces, it’s mine again.
12. If there is any doubt, it’s mine.

We smile indulgently because these are, after all, toddlers, as oblivious of their surroundings as a puppy playing with his tail.

It’s sad, however, when an adult exhibits this sort of selfishness.

I suppose that almost every human relationship that disintegrates does so because either one or both was selfish. I suspect a high proportion of church problems, too, stem from selfishness.

As a matter of fact, how many sins can you think of that do not begin with the sin of selfishness? Someone walks out of a marriage because he would not consider the other’s feeling. Someone walked away from a church because it did not meet his expectations.

Note that the “Golden Rule” depends on our ability to see the other person, his needs, her fears, his point of view, how an action encourages her.

“So whatever that you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12, ESV).

Oh, and why should a Christian differ from a toddler? “If it’s mine, it’s mine.” Actually, we all belong to Christ (1 Corinthians 3:16). “We were bought at a price.” None of this is mine, it belongs to God.

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Stan Mitchell

Stan has preached since 1976, in Zimbabwe, California, Texas and Tennessee. He serves as preacher for the Red Walnut Church of Christ in Bath Springs, TN. He is currently Professor of Bible at Freed-Hardeman University. He is married to the former Marjorie McCarthy, and has one daughter, Tracy Watts. He is the author of four books: The Wise Get Wiser, the Foolish More Foolish: The Book of Proverbs, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice: Our Worship in Song, and Equipping the Saints for Ministry. He has recently published another book, "Will Our Faith Have Children: Developing Leadership in the Church for the Next Generation.

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