Thanksgiving in a World of Entitlement

I’m facing an uphill battle. As a teacher, I’m learning all about the evils of entitlement and what it may mean for the coming generations. Report cards came out at school a while back and one of my students  wanted to know what he could do for extra credit to bring up his grade. He was promised a pretty nice reward from his parents if he maintained certain grades and he was mad at me for ruining his chance to claim his rightful reward.

I, like any teacher worth their salt, explained to him that his grade was a D because he earned it, that he had extra credit opportunities throughout the grading period he could have taken advantage of but he chose not to, and that he would need to accept responsibility for his own actions and study habits. In return, I received the eye roll and a whispered “Whatever!”

Now I should be fair and say that I teach fourth graders, so ten-year-olds still have a hard time accepting personal responsibility, but he still learned his entitlement somewhere. Why do many people feel like the world owes them something?  When did we become a society who feels like it’s our right to get whatever we want?  We can get into how this is a detriment in the social and political arenas, but I want to touch on how this attitude can hurt the church.

First off, it’s important to remember that God never promised to give his followers everything. John 10:10 has widely been used to teach that but that is a misinterpretation of that verse. In fact, all that God gives us is by grace through faith so no one can boast about how we deserve something (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can never feel entitled when it comes to God. We are best served having an attitude of contentment and to be good stewards of the gifts or blessings God has given us. God wants appreciative children, not spoiled ones.

1 Timothy 6:6
1 Timothy 6:6

Second is the entitlement we see in worship occasionally. Somehow, some Christians believe that the only church worth attending is the one that meets all of THEIR needs. It doesn’t dawn on some that we’re there to worship God, not for God to worship us. I know many pastors and elders that would love to shepherd a flock who wants to serve God instead of looking to be served all the time. And amazingly, all of our needs end up being met when we put Him first.

Every follower of Christ should seriously examine their heart. Do you have a heart of thanksgiving or a heart of entitlement? There is a big difference and it really matters to God.




4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in a World of Entitlement

  1. liveHislove

    Wow something to really think and reflect about. I hope I’m teaching my kids personal responsibility. I guess modeling this myself should be the first step in teaching my children 😄. Way to not cave into his extra credit request!!!

    1. Joe Butler

      It’s funny but after teaching for a decade I’ve realized I’m not just successful if a student leaves my classroom as a better reader. I value most being able to teach children how to be kind, thankful, and responsible young people. If I’ve done that by the end of the school year, then I’ve had a good year.

  2. mgsunshine

    It’s funny but I didn’t realize that I was struggling with this issue until recently. It is truly about thankfulness, surrender, and contentment and seeking to live a life that glorifies Him first and foremost. Great post.

    1. Joe Butler

      I struggle with contentment constantly and probably most so in relationships with others. I tend to set expectations too high or stay uptight about things. I’m learning to get better at granting grace because I want so badly for it to granted to me.

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