Sunday, June 4, 2017

Privilege vs Entitlement

Year 5 - Day 155: Today, I am grateful gratitude separates privilege from entitlement. 

We live in a land of plenty. There is so much abundance. 

There are television shows about people living off of the land... off the grid and out of the garbage, and they have enough. Even the poorest who use wise financial management, find they have what they need... and some to share. 

Where sin, addictions and neglect run deep, there is hunger and need. Loss of jobs and illness can lead to sudden changes in circumstance, but most in this country have food, clean water and a roof over their head. 

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world perceives this as a rich country?

I read a quick snippet of a story about someone visiting a tribe somewhere in Africa. A "contest" was going to take place and the "winner" would receive the prize of a basket full of fresh, beautiful food. The children simply did not understand the idea of one person winning and keeping the whole prize. "How can I not share when by brother or sister has nothing?" 

"What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude."-Brene Brown

Again, I am reminded of the word "enough". This passage from Job defines his heart, yet he faced tough stuff. Really hard times came and they went. God was still his portion... his enough.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. -Job 23:12 

Job lost. Job hurt. Job grieved. Job was ill. Job was broken. All of these things because Satan wanted Job to reject God. He cried in agony, but God was Job's portion. He survived and would thrive again. How beautifully David puts it in this Psalm.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.-Psalm 16:5

We must choose him and present our lives as a cup for him to fill, willing to take the trials with the joys. We can't see the big picture. 

What if we started each day in a prayer of gratitude for the privilege of another day? Another Psalm, later in David's live:

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. -Psalm 73:26

We get older, wider and gravity has it's way with our earthly bodies, but they are temporary. Job and David both knew abundance and wealth... and trials and misery. Both discovered that the only real peace is God's peace. 

Jesus never let who he was and what he could do get in the way of his mission here. He came to be with us, to understand being human by becoming one of us. His power and position set aside because he was carrying out the Father's plan for redeeming the lost. 

Imagine if Jesus walked the earth today in human form. He would be sought out by the rich and famous. Social media would explode. He would be hounded by the paparazzi. We know God's timing was, is and will be perfect. What we do not understand is his clock. 

We live in an age that we are very close to the whole world exposed to the gospel of Christ. Each human... for themselves... with the choice of accepting or rejecting Jesus and Lord, Savior and King. What will we do with the gift?

It is the ultimate privilege. We are not entitled to his grace and mercy when we face the justice seat. It is a gift. We can't earn it by working hard. It is only offered as a gift. 

Paul writes this in Ephesians 2:8-10-
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

As we grow in grace... the gratitude cup fills up and splashes over the rim and into every little thing we say and do. 

Not that we should ever feel entitled... but that in the light of our own reflections, we find the title "son" and "daughter" to the God of the universe a privilege that humbles us to our knees in wonder and adoration of the one who loves us intimately... knowing our imperfections.. and chooses us back. 

We are children of privilege...given a great gift. Embraced not entitled. 

Oh, how He loves you and me. 

Today, I am grateful gratitude separates privilege from entitlement. 

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