I watched a video of Haiti this morning and was struck by the looks of desperation in the eyes of the people. I saw very young children in alleyways looking lost and mothers sitting in makeshift clinics, their faces stoic and without hope. The earthquakes of 2010 exacerbated the problems in an already failing infrastructure.
These are our brothers and sisters in Christ; they should be full of joy, but the ravages of life in a sinful and broken world have relegated them to a life of despondency.
As I sat down to a hot breakfast, I read a note recently posted on Twitter by Pastor Greg Boyd. He wrote, “I’ve come to believe that the western assumption of entitlement is a form of demonic bondage. It sucks the joy of thankfulness out of us.” That quote combined with having just viewed the Haiti video brought me to a halt. While all over the world children are orphaned, dying and starving, I am sitting down to a warm breakfast, drinking clean water in a cool house. All of these luxuries I take for granted on a daily basis. Most Christians in America grew up being taught to give thanks before a meal, but how thankful are we really? So often the “grace” said before eating is a rote liturgy, devoid of any sense of true thankfulness. We need to take the time and think about how blessed we truly are. Thank God you were born in a country where you will probably never truly want for food, then discover the joy of moving beyond thankfulness and use the resources you have been given to help those less fortunate than yourself.
There truly is a sense of entitlement in the West. We expect to have a life at least as good as our parents, if not something a little better. Because we live in wealthy countries that give us the freedom to achieve whatever we desire, we can easily forget that this is not the normal way of life in the world. Over a third of the world lives on less than $2 per day, an amount most of us would think nothing of spending on a snack or a soft drink. The blessings of our life can easily turn into the snares of Satan; he delights in taking what God intended for good and twisting it into something that turns us away and distracts us from God. Just now, as I write this, my nose began to run and I instinctively reached for a tissue (one embedded with lotion no less!). I then washed my hands with soap under water that flows cheaply and seemingly without end into my house. All of these things would be utterly foreign to more than half of the world. They have never known such luxuries. The couch I sit on and the laptop computer on which I write are beyond affordability to the majority of this planet. When was the last time I was actually thankful for any of these “entitlements”?
We need to become more aware of the blessings in our life and adopt an attitude of thankfulness and joy for them. Out of the vastness of our resources, let’s determine how we can use that which we’ve been blessed with to come to the aid of another. Western Christians have an enormous responsibility to wisely choose how we spend our resources. As Jesus said, much will be expected from those who have been entrusted with great blessings (Luke 12:48). We have been given more than most but have allowed Satan to turn what God intended for good into evil. It’s time to take back what rightfully belongs to Christ. Instead of assuming a sense of entitlement, we must repent and fall on our face in gratitude before our Lord and King. Be thankful for everything with which you have been blessed. Give generously to others so that they might share in your blessings. Take nothing for granted; focus on being joyful in the midst of your blessings, giving thanks always in everything to God in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord (Ephesians 5:20).
Question: What things do you take for granted on a daily basis? You can leave a comment below.