what are you entitled to…


so yesterday i talked statistics, today i’m going to see where that puts us. again from Jesus Wants to Save the Christians….

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Empires accumulate.  And that accumulation has consequences.  Blessing and abundance can turn into burdens and curses.

The number of Americans taking antidepressants has tripled in the past decade.

If all of this was supposed to make us happy, why are so many of us so sad?

But not everybody is sad.  There is another response to accumulation, and it’s called entitlement.

Moses spoke of the need to constantly tell the exodus story, the one about rescue from slavery, “otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

Moses can see the days of abundance and blessing coming.  Someday they will not only have enough, they will have more than enough.  And he knows that this blessing is going to bring with it tremendous temptation to forget the God who provided it. How does a person forget God?  The answer we’ve seen again and again in the Scriptures is that you forget God when you forget the people God cares about.  Over and over God speaks of the widow, the orphan and the refugee.  This is how you remember God: you bless those who need it the most in the same way that God blessed you when you needed it the most.

Moses describes God as “the one who brought you out of Egypt”.  Everything is connected to their experience of redemption and the extending redemption to others.  In an empire of indifference, as it becomes harder and harder to understand the perspective of others, it becomes easier and easier to confuse blessing with entitlement.

Entitlement leads to immunity to the suffering of others, because “I got what I deserve” and so, apparently, did they.

Moses warned about this as well in Deuteronomy 8, when he said “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

In an empire of entitlement, when the fundamental awareness is lost that this is all a gift, luxuries can begin to seem like necessities.  Excess can become normal.  And it can be very easy to lose perspective on just how much we have…

…In the same way that entitlement can cause us to lose perspective, it can also cause us to resist the checks on consumption.  If a particular resource becomes scarce at home or in other parts of the world, it can be very difficult to cut back, because powerful forces of entitlement convince us certain things are deserved.

Empires naturally accumulate, accumulation has consequences, and those consequences are expensive.

wow!  that just hits me between the eyes.  how many times have i said.  “just buy it Chuck, you want it, and you deserve it.”  how much money have i squandered and wasted just because i felt i was entitled to something.  have “luxuries become necessities” for me and my family?

Please Lord, change my heart!

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