Entitlement versus Gratitude

It was decades ago when I came to realize that the world was made up of two fundamental types of people: the givers and the takers.  No matter what economic class you are in, you can find these two groups.  Although it seems there is an imbalance of takers, givers have overcome the same obstacles, have gone to the same schools, and have had the same opportunities.  I am convinced that the maturity of your relationship with Our Heavenly Father will determine which category you belong in.  Can people change categories?  Yes.  When does that occur?  It will generally occur when you begin to comprehend unconditional Love.

In the U.S., there is a prevailing sense of “entitlement”.  Recently, a Harvard professor felt that he was entitled to harass an officer who was simply doing his duty and protecting the neighborhood.  The esteemed professor felt that because of his stature at Harvard, he could intimidate the officer who was following procedure.  See police report: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates2.html  President Obama called the police “stupid” on national television without knowing the facts of the case.  Is the president entitled to make a judgment without the facts?  The current generation of Americans seems to believe that they are entitled to consume 25% of the world’s energy while making up only 2% of the world’s population.  They are entitled to bigger houses, more food, more entertainment, more blessings, the list goes on and on and on…  It is true the America has been a blessing to other nations in the past, but past actions will only sustain so much reward when the attitude changes from gratitude to entitlement.

This entitlement attitude that prevails around the globe and is based on past successes.  After WWII, the U.S. became the predominant military force in the world.  There are many stories of how just one change in the war could have produced a German speaking world population.  Victory feeds the ego and the ego promotes entitlement unless you understand that your success was due to Our Heavenly Father’s intervention.

When you begin to understand that your successes are connected to the biggest of pictures and that your faculties alone did not single handedly produce your successes, then you begin to operate under the mindset of gratitude.  Gratitude acknowledges that Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate cause of your success, after all we are created beings, not the Creator.  As we become grateful of our successes, we allow Our Heavenly Father to take us to the next level of stewardship.  So often men want to bypass success in the little things because they think they are called to work only in a “global” capacity.

I knew a man who believed his calling to be in the international finance arena.  He spoke to other men who also believed that their ministry was in this area.  For years they would “put deals together”.  These deals were to represent millions and millions of dollars and some of the money would be directed to fund the Gospel around the world.  This man lived out this counterfeit reality and was supported by his girlfriend.  He had such conviction about his calling that no one could minister to him.  He studied Scripture that supported his belief.  He found “prophetic” signs that confirmed his calling and anyone who challenged his path would simply be placed in a category of people who were in his life for a season.  This man had no education that would support this calling and he had no business background or experience in handling global finances.  His ego had convinced him that he was called to an arena without any preparation by Our Heavenly Father and for some unknown reason, he was entitled to pursue this unfounded dream of his.  Along the way, he would make plans to build this and that for third world countries and raise the hopes of desperate people who wanted to believe in his illusionary entitlement.  The deals never happened.

Our callings begin in obscurity as we see when Jesus was born in a manger rather than the King’s palace.  HE spent his first thirty years in preparation for HIS ministry.  We know that HE was well aware of HIS ministry at the age of twelve.  Eighteen years of additional preparation was needed by the One who would change the globe forever.  HE did not bypass this time of preparation but overcame obstacles and matured.

Jesus gave us this truth in the Parable of the Talents.  Each of us are given certain resources to develop and depending what we do with those resources, we will be given more resources with a greater responsibility.  This is really a simple concept to grasp but our ego will get in the way every time.  The man I mentioned above wanted to bypass this process all together.  He wanted a global ministry without first being fruitful in a local ministry.  Unfortunately he had not proved himself worthy of a simple act of stewardship that would support an increase in accountability and responsibility.  Was this any different for the children of Israel when they went into the wilderness for forty years?  Were they ready to enter into the Promised Land after eighteen months?  No, except for two mature men who were prepared for service.  It took an additional 38 years for the people to finally enter in and only after the generation of unbelief passed away.  The new generation spent time learning to believe in Our Heavenly Father’s promises of sustenance and protection as well as walking by HIS statutes.

Are you being a good steward of what you have been given?  Have you brought to completion the projects Our Heavenly Father has laid at your doorstep?  Are you grateful for those projects given to you or do you believe they are beneath your qualifications thus you are still waiting for the big project that would propel you into fame and fortune?  Don’t despise the little things given to you.  They may be the very thing you need to do in order to work on that bigger project you wish and hope for.

It may be time for a self assessment.  Is your ego projecting a life of entitlement or is your spirit directing you with an attitude of gratitude?

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