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It’s Not About Ownership but Access

Many Saturday mornings my family and I walk our dog to a nearby lake, situated between two cabins at the dead end of a private drive. Mature oak trees form an archway overhead; deer often peer through rows of planted pines, observing their neighbors. I regularly comment how I’d love to own a house on this street, yet the matriarch who owns the sprawling, secluded forest acreage will not entertain the idea of allowing someone to encroach upon their serenity by selling a parcel. I play out scenarios in my mind as to how I could acquire property like this somewhere in the city. I walk for many steps before I realize I’ve left the space, and I gently return my mind to the family stroll. And a thought recurs each time: It’s not about ownership, but access.

One of the owners of the cabins is kind enough to allow access to his dock, canoes, and even to feed his pet pig, aptly named Pig—the kids get a kick out of that, squealing louder than that porker. He welcomes us with coffee in hand as he strolls his land in his pajamas. He’s always glad we’ve arrived. We fish. We play. Life truly is good.

I’m most aware of God’s goodness when I’m most grateful, when I’m mindful that I need not own anything in order to appreciate it, whatever it is. I’m also mindful that many long for the access and privilege I am afforded, access I often take for granted.

We cannot often control what we own and what we do not own, but we can be grateful for the access we have, whether to a field, a pond, a school, a home, or a friend. In all things, in all access, give thanks.

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Tommy Brown

Tommy Brown is a writer, speaker, and develops strategies that support financial development. He and his wife Elizabeth live in Winston-Salem, NC along with their children Seri and Seth. He served in leadership at two churches as an ordained minister from 2001-2014, leading congregations into financial wellbeing and a holistic approach to integrating faith and finances. Tommy has a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry and Masters degrees in Divinity and Management. His entrepreneurial endeavors over the years have extended into real estate development and church consulting on stewardship matters. Now, Thomas works alongside an award-winning team of storytellers at Wake Forest University, performing strategic planning and project development for initiatives that fund the university¹s $1,000,000,000 capital campaign. Thomas was instrumental in forming Wake Forest University's financial wellbeing initiative. He has a heart for seeing churches, students, and people of faith form connections between faith and finances.

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