That's my mango tree in the picture above. Look closely please! It is my Mango Tree minus the mangoes. They are gone! When I say, "They are gone!" I mean G-O-N-E! Gone as in harvested. Gone as in picked clean! They are gone like tourists after Spring Break, like students after graduation. They are gone like sunshine on a rainy day.
Yeah, I know, "The sun will come out tomorrow . . ." But my mangoes are gone today! I just want to know one thing. Who stole my mangoes?
Never mind that I don't like mangoes. Never mind that I have never eaten one of my mangoes. Never mind that whoever fleeced my fruit saved me the hassle of ridding the yard of overripe, half-eaten, super soggy, really stinky mangoes. That's not the point!!
The point is that they are my mangoes. Because my property--all 14,520 square feet of prime Boca Raton real estate--is sacred ground. Yes, the Nation of Tom has very clear borders. There is a sidewalk to the east, a hedge to the north, a lake to the west, and a very clear mower line separating my kingdom from my neighbor's to the south.
Every last square inch within those boundaries is mine. Right? Wrong!
Last week I was sitting in a restaurant with my friend, Wayne Barton. I was crying in my mango juice and bemoaning my mango misfortune when Wayne reminded me of something very important:
"Tommy, they're not your mangoes!"
Wayne is right, of course. While the tree may sit in my yard, on my property, next to my house, and I like to give the fruit to my friends, it really does not belong to me. It belongs to God.
- To the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Deuteronomy 10:14 ESV
- The earth is the LORD'S and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 ESV
- What do you have that you did not receive? 1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
- All things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16 ESV
This world and my own sinful nature wants to remind me of what's mine. Of my wants and my rights and my property. But in fact, I am not an owner. I am a steward. The property--and all that is in it--are the rightful possession of my loving Father. He has turned them over to me for a short time to manage for his glory. So I tend the tree, share the fruit, clean up the mess, and trust him with the heist.
The Lord gave the mangoes and the Lord has allowed the mangoes to be taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Don't Ask The Fish? That's a funny name. Where did it come from? Click here to find out more.
This Sunday at Spanish River Church: We continue our series, Wise Up: A Study in Proverbs, by taking a look at what God has to say about taking initiative.