Friday, July 11, 2014

Open-Handed Entitlement

A few weeks ago, I was in Sibiu, Romania. It was one of my family's last days in the motherland, and we were enjoying the city that had once been voted the Cultural Capital of Europe. And in case you're wondering why some town you've never heard of in a country you think is a part of Italy got that title, it's because of the many nations that gather in the city year-round for festivals and events. Plus, it's beautiful to a level that goes beyond ridonkulous.

We sat down at a little restaurant away from the crowds and ordered some food. I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I got to the sink to wash my hands, I stuck my hand underneath the soap dispenser and waited. And waited. It took me a bit of time to figure out that this soap dispenser was, in fact, not automatic - a fact that came as a bit of a surprise considering the reality that most of them nowadays are.

Our society is teaching us things. Sometimes, it's small stuff, like sticking out an open hand and expecting a dollop of soap to magically be squished out of a dispenser. Other times, we stick out an open hand and expect it to be filled with free money from the government so that we can pay for school. Or housing. Or (insert whatever you want right here). I mean, that's fine, right? We do deserve it, after all. We've worked so hard to, uh... you know, exist. We should be rewarded for our efforts!

There are good things about my generation. Plenty. We work together well. We're huge on innovation. We love approaching age-old issues with fresh perspectives. However, one of our greatest disadvantages lies wrapped in one word: entitlement. We expect things to just be handed to us. When we get those things, we aren't super grateful, and when we don't, we get angry. We are the generation that was raised to think that everybody's a winner, we can be anything we want, and we shouldn't have to work as hard as our parents worked. 
For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. (Romans 3)
So, good news - the truth is, we're right! We are entitled! We are entitled to all that comes with falling short of the glory of God, namely, death. That's right, because of the excellent strides we've made in loving sin and showing our disrespect for God by doing everything that He told us not to, we get to stick out our hand and expect eternal torment and punishment for everything we've done to earn it with all the hours we've put in to this daily grind of sin. Yay!

*Puts sarcasm aside.*

Dear friends, approaching faith in Jesus Christ by feeling deserving of anything more than God's wrath is destruction. Not only is it flat out unBiblical to expect God to give you a fancy car, the perfect job, and great health 'till the day you die of old age in your sleep, but it sets us up for great disappointment. 
"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16)
Every single thing that God gives us is a gift, from the beating of your heart to the strength in your legs. The oxygen in your lung branches to the slow growth of your fingernails: gifts. The alarm clock that wakes you up and the waking hours to serve Christ that face you after it does: gifts. The struggles of life that break us to be rebuilt and the pain that makes us hope for the rest of Heaven's gates: gifts. These gifts, in fact, force us to face the Gift-Giver, Who, through the merits of His own grace and perfection, becomes the only One actually entitled to blessing. So, if you stick out your open hand, expect it to be filled with the hand of someone who needs to be pulled up.

This is your entitlement.


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