There is such a thing as an attitude of ownership: an attitude of caring responsibility for property, for a business, or other resources, that typically characterizes the person who owns them. Noticing this, people often ask me which comes first: ownership, or the attitude of an owner? Do you develop the character and attitude of an owner after you own a home or business, or does the attitude come first and lead naturally to the fact of owning? Or is it a question of which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Well, there is a bit of that here, because each does help to generate the other. But in this case I know the answer: the attitude of ownership comes first. How do I know this? Learned it in the university of life, through personal experience.

One will generally find a home or business owner to be a hardworking, caring, responsible, trustworthy, reliable, and self-disciplined person. Generally, they’re not given to “that’s-not-my-job” attitudes and behaviour. When they see something that ought not to be, they pitch in and do whatever it takes to make it the way it ought to be.

But it’s those very characteristics in a person that result in home and business ownership in the first place! You can and should have this responsible, caring attitude which I call an “owners’ attitude” even while working for someone else—and if you don’t, you’ll never end up owning a business or anything else of value. It takes a caring, responsible, trustworthy, reliable, self-disciplined, and hard-working person to get ahead in this world—to be promoted, to earn enough, and to save enough so that a business can be started or a home bought.

Jesus taught essentially the same principle in the parable of the servants: only those servants who had been trustworthy and hardworking with lesser responsibilities were deemed fit to receive greater ones.

The moral of the story? If you don’t have an owner’s attitude where you currently find yourself—a responsible, disciplined, hardworking attitude—then chances are you’ll never be an owner. Clergyman and social reformer Henry Ward Beecher said, “Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anybody else expects of you; never excuse yourself.” Do what Beecher says and you’ll have a good chance of one day becoming an owner. You’ll also feel good about yourself and be on the receiving end of God’s blessing. 

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”            —Matthew 25:21