It's Not Mine.

By Deidra Riggs

April 27, 2019

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

How unsearchable his judgments,

and his paths beyond tracing out!

“Who has known the mind of the Lord?

Or who has been his counselor?”“

“Who has ever given to God,

that God should repay them?”

For from him and through him and for him are all things.

To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Romans 11:33-36


Once upon a time, a preacher told me a story from his own life.

A woman offering a basket of plumsAs it happened, this particular preacher was feeling down about the work of ministering in the church where he served. He couldn’t seem to find a way forward for the congregation and the weight of ministry was making him worried, anxious, and fearful.

One day, a wise woman came to visit this preacher and she listened intently to his worries, cares, fears, and frustrations. The preacher recounted a long list of obstacles and no-win situations that stood before him like a solid brick wall, blocking the light and shutting him down.

When the preacher was done sharing his concerns, the wise woman leaned forward just a bit in her chair, looked the preacher in the eye and asked, “So, if you wouldn’t mind, please remind me whose church this is?”

The preacher, without hesitating, began to answer the woman by saying, “Why, it’s m—,”

Immediately, his mistake was clear to him, and he stopped before finishing the word. Taking a breath, the preacher began again. “This is God’s church,” the preacher said.

And the wise woman replied, “Well, when are you going to give it back to God?”

We’ve all made that same mistake at some point in our lives. I know I have. I’ve forgotten that every good and perfect gift is from God. My work, my friendships, my community, my church, my future, my home, my health, and all the rest. All of it is God’s.

When I begin to feel overwhelmed or defeated by the things that make each of us worry, the best thing I can do is remember this story about the preacher and the church he’d been called to serve.

Something to Think About:

Are you holding too tightly to the gifts God has given you?

Something to Do:

Spend a few minutes thinking about the things God has given you. Then, imagine yourself giving all of those things back to God. Is it easy to do, or is it difficult?


Lord, I am thankful for this reminder that you’re in control. Thank you for freedom from worry and frustration. I give _____________________ back to you and trust you to let me know what to do next. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
God’s Character is to Have Mercy on Everyone (Romans 9–11)

Deidra Riggs

Writer & Author

Deidra Riggs is a national speaker, an editor, and the founder and host of Jumping Tandem: The Retreat, a bi-annual event for writers, authors, and entrepreneurs. She is a storyteller who creates safe space for navigating...

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