Gift = Entitlement?

Yesterday I sat down in front of the computer with my cup of coffee, innocently enough. My husband was suffering from severe allergies and was quarantined in the back of the house. My 18-year-old daughter was at work. The boys were eating their breakfast. I was just going to write a quick post, to stay consistent. But first…maybe I could find a better theme for my page.

That took longer than I thought.

None of the themes were quite the right format for all the elements I want to incorporate. Maybe I could just browse the upgrade options and see how much it would to cost to eventually customize my own page.

The kids are wanting my attention and beginning to act out. I’ll just check my stats real fast. That reminds me that there is someone’s blog I wanted to read. Breakfast dishes are still not done. Ooh, I need to comment on this one! Laundry waiting to be folded. I just got another couple ideas for posts—I’d better write them down. The boys are really starting to get on my nerves. Why can’t they just play? Can’t they see I’m trying to get something done?!

At this point I am beginning to feel a tiny pinch of guilt about the amount of time I am spending on this thing. I am conscious that I would feel ashamed if my husband got up and saw the way I was ignoring the kids. I know that if my daughter came home from work I would be embarrassed for her to find me just as she left me.

I’ll just proofread my last post—yep, a couple of typos to fix. Check my email. There’s a comment on my last post. I’d better respond to help facilitate community discussion. Now maybe I can get to writing that post.

Boys are fighting. Someone’s crying. Irritated and barking, I intervene. I should just put on a movie for them. Then I look at the clock. I have just spent two hours doing nothing of importance, while neglecting my boys and resenting them for it. I was just about to muzzle them with a cartoon so I could keep doing it. My conscience had been tugging at me and I intentionally ignored it.

The ability to write and a love for it are God-given gifts. I believe He inspired this project—He’s got plans for it and He wants me to work on it. But because I enjoy it, I get greedy. My time is not my own. I have given my life to God—that includes my time. When I start to see my time as my own, entitlement attitudes are sure to develop.

I think we all have a list of entitlements that we may or may not be aware of. It’s hard not to; we live in an entitlement society. But, if we have given our lives to God, it is our responsibility to dig deep and examine how we really view our use of time. Is it something we feel we ought to seek God about and honor Him with? Or do we take for granted that once the absolutely necessary is completed, it’s all up to us to determine what to do with the rest. Do we actively look for ways to invest more of our time into God’s priorities? Or do we feel really good about ourselves when we take a little time out of our schedule to do something for God?

There are a few questions that might be helpful in determining problem areas. What activities do I feel that I have earned the right to do? What activities would I feel angry or go through “withdrawals” if they were taken away? Have I even questioned whether my lifestyle and daily routines are an honest attempt to honor God?

God made a lot of really cool things. He’s given us the ability and desire to investigate and enjoy them. But that is a gift.  I would never receive a gift from a friend and then, because I really liked it, begin demanding that they fork that sort of thing over all the time. And I certainly wouldn’t just go to their house and start taking things for my own if they didn’t.  But I’m comfortable treating God’s gifts that way. Now, I realize that wasting a couple hours one day is a minor misstep, but making a habit of stealing what belongs to God is not something I should shrug at.

The amazing thing is that when we purge ourselves of these entitlement attitudes (that really only make us cranky and unsatisfied) we end up with more, not less. We are much more able to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy the loving generosity that flows from God’s hand to us. His kindness and affection aren’t clouded by the turmoil of an afflicted conscience.

Hebrews 12:28 (NASB)
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.


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