More than anything else in our lives, ideas produce great amounts of pride in our hearts. Maybe it is because ideas are so personal. We think them up, craft them, define them and present them to others; and in that process we possess them in our hearts.
When Jesus says that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21, NIV), He is exposing our natural tendency to be owned by what we value. We see this at play with our thoughts and ideas on a regular basis. As we create ideas and go out in the world to share them, they become our treasure. And as they increase in value to us, we become more and more prideful and possessive of those ideas until the ideas actually own us!
What an amazing transformation. We start our journey with an idea determined to bless those around us as we share it and we end up slaves to that very idea. It is a tragedy that we see play out each day as people battle to own and profit from the ideas that were given to them by God.
Now there is nothing wrong with turning ideas into products and services and selling those things to those who will benefit from them. Don’t get caught up in that trap! After all Paul charged for the tents he made and probably drove quite a hard bargain.
We are not speaking about methods and tactics here—but of the heart. In John 13:14 Jesus defines what should guide our heart. This verse comes on the heel of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and He then says, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14, NIV) To do what Jesus did, his treasure had to be in another place that was not guided by the rules of this world. He was guided by a different set of values and motivations which led him to a posture of humility and service.
Back in Matthew 6:21 Jesus was calling us to leave this world’s metrics behind and define our lives around the rules of the Kingdom. That means we must not allow our ideas to own us. We must not put at the center the rights that this world tries to convince us to fight for and we must share generously out of a humble heart. Ideas are tools which God graciously puts into our hands in order to bless others. Humility should be at the foundation of every thought that we seek to share.
How will that change your role as a thought leader? It will become less about “my idea” and more about “your growth.” We will not focus primarily on protecting our rights and instead expend our energies on the needs of others. We will share freely, but wisely, with the knowledge that our ideas come from God and are given to us as a means to bless others.
Are you enslaved to one of your own ideas today? Ask God to release you so that you can use it for His glory!