Entitlement is a concept that sneaks its way into my thoughts on a daily basis now. From the way I frowned upon the sandwich I was served in a restaurant the other day, to the way my son described his disappointment with the new splash park: “Disgusting, too wet, and too many people in my way.”
- the fact of having a right to something
- the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment:
“God owns everything. Which simply means, it is not yours. You are simply a steward of it; you are more or less borrowing from God. We will have to give an account to how we took care of His Property.” — taken from the book Unearth, by Christy Vidrine & Autumn Rogers
If we are truly grateful people, shouldn’t that gratitude pour back out of us in response to all that we have been given? If my gratitude terminates on me, and isn’t poured back out in demonstration of the One who loves and lavishes us with everything he has…am I really thankful at all?
Relevant magazine recently published an article quoting statistics on tithing among the church in America:
“The church of today is not great at giving. This isn’t exactly news. But it is a statistical fact:
– Tithers make up only 10-25 percent of a normal congregation.
– Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income.
– Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while during the Great Depression they gave at a 3.3 percent rate.”
These statistics completely floor me. And I find the problem difficult to tackle. When pastors preach on giving, they receive sighs and eye-rolls from the pews. If they preach on generosity too regularly, attendance drops. So, since they can’t preach about it, we have to. Followers of Jesus must stir one another up to good works.
I have heard it suggested that the percentage of our giving is indicative of the level to which our hearts believe the Gospel.
Of course, you could spin the conversation to what could be accomplished if churches everywhere focused their funds on things like, I don’t know, sheltering orphans or feeding the hungry…instead of beautiful, comfy, elaborate buildings.
What does any of this have to do with Kenya? When you go places and see such disparaging differences between your Western lifestyle and the devastating poverty and circumstances in which many people, image-bearers of the living God, exist, it will shift your perspective. It will make your thoughts swirl. And maybe even ignite the fire in your belly. I have a hard time being quiet. Especially when so precious much is on the line.
Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. Luke 12:48
I am taking this thing that Jesus said in regards to a parable he taught about His return very seriously. God has given you and I a whole lot. And while it’s true that He loves us and loves to lavish His blessings on us, I don’t believe that he intends for all those blessings to end in my selfish little bit of happiness.
When God’s people give, babies are rescued from dumpsters and given a home, a name, and a hope. The sick are healed. The prostitute is enveloped by a church who wants her. Girls open a textbook for the first time. Young boys play soccer and Jesus meets them in their dreams and calls them His own.
There is such great joy in the sacrifice.