Gratitude9

Are we grateful or entitled?

Entitlement is something we feel we deserve because of who we are. Similar to gossip or lying, it’s something others have. We’re never guilty. Yet, it’s more entrenched than most in America realize.

Comfort is addictive. We’ve had it for years. Food, shelter, security and spending money are ubiquitous. We’ve no reason to expect anything else. Gifts are under the tree, a feast is on the table, decorations sparkle around us. Same as it ever was.

Entitlement moves with stealth into unexpected places. Even in Christian hearts, we expect largesse. However, when blessings come without acknowledgement, we’ve given Satan a foothold (Luke 17:11-19).

Like Hezekiah, we can go from grateful to entitled without realizing it (2 Kings 18:1-6; 20:12-15). All it takes is a switch from thine to mine.

Gratitude turns our entire being into joy. Ebenezer Scrooge couldn’t see his blessings because he’d trained his eyes to only see what was missing. We would do well to have a Christmas without our usual bounty. It would probably flip the switch on what we’ve taken for granted.

Gratitude isn’t mentioned in the King James Version. It’s thankfulness, which is illustrative. The critique of the Thanksgiving Dinner obscures the gratitude that would transform it into a blessed feast. We can’t see what we refuse to grasp.

Gratitude restores beauty to an overlooked world. Blessings cover up burdens. Perspective brings power and we’re humbled by what we’ve received. Entitlement only grumbles about what we’ve missed.

God does more for us than we realize. Try God and see what extraordinary gifts he will bestow (Malachi 3:10).

His blessings must never be taken for granted or they will be taken away. We just have to scale back our expectations and learn to be happy with what we have (Philippians 4:11).

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Richard lives in Florence, Alabama and is married to Deirdre. They have three daughters. He is an avid reader, devoted writer and lover of history and research. He is the author of "The Most Important Question" and is working on more books.

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