10 February 2013

Entitlement's Nemesis... Gratitude

There was a consultant who was working with a group of college graduates. He said to the group, “There is one word used to describe the generation currently emerging into the workforce, and that word begins with an "E."

“Do any of you know what this one word is?"

The graduates offered answers.

They chimed in with other words that described their positive attributes, all beginning with the letter “E.”  After some time had passed, the consultant gave in, “The number one most commonly used word to describe this generation as they move into the workforce, is ‘entitled.’"

The millennial generation is also known as the "entitled generation." Many in this age category feel like they are ‘owed’ and they deserve more.

But, before you simply agree with me and say, “yeah, those dang kids!” we must first realize we are responsible for this generation. We’ve created the monster by our actions and our attitudes.  You may be wondering how.

Here are a few of the ways we’ve shaped these ingrates:

For those my age and older, for a variety of reasons, we worked way too much, sacrificing relationships along the way, often ending in divorce and torn families. This often led to the guilt scenario where we tried to make up for our lack of time and involvement with our kids by never saying no. "Here, you can have this, you can have that..."

As a result, this younger generation feels like, "Hey, if we want it, we are going to get it!"

We have also protected this generation like none before it. When I was a kid, you could ride in the back of a pick-up truck, with 18 of your friends. Now, we strap our kids down with the protection of 43 different belt buckles.  We raced down steep hills on our cobbled together bicycles and we won’t even let ours ride on the pavement without a helmet.

When I was a kid, we actually had to win something to get a ribbon.  We’ve told, no, we’ve SOLD this generation into believing everyone is a winner. We can’t bear the thought of allowing them to feel the emotion that comes naturally with defeat.

"Hey Johnny, you were last, but you ran so slowly and we're so proud of you! So, here's a ribbon!”

The opposite of entitlement is the virtue of gratitude. In Luke there is an interesting story about a group of sick men who may have appeared to be entitled and who did not stop and take the time to show gratitude.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" Luke 17:11-13

To give you a clear picture of leprosy, lepers suffered with one of the most painful diseases imaginable.  The disease was so contagious, as explained in Leviticus 13, whenever someone ventured close by, a leper had to scream out, "Unclean, unclean!" to warn people to turn and go the other way. It was very humiliating.

According to the story, these ten guys see Jesus across the street and they cry out, "Jesus, please, help!"

When Jesus saw them, he said, "Go, and show you to the priests." And, as they went, they were cleansed. Luke 17:14

For these ten it was their greatest dream, their most desired prayer had just been answered!

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him, and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Luke 17:15-18

Can you hear the hurt in Jesus’ voice? It’s as if He was saying to the nine, you were begging, you were crying out, you were in deep distress, your life was basically nothing. You were just going to survive the rest of your days all alone. You cried out, and God sent me.

They probably weren't bad guys, they were probably just thinking, “I want to go home and tell my wife, I want to see my family! This disease isn't exactly what I asked for; you know I didn't deserve this!” It was almost as if they slipped into this entitled mindset leaving only one with gratitude.

Will you be that one?

Will you be that one that daily pauses to give glory and honor to the One that gave you life? Will you be that one to stop in the middle of life’s rat race and lift up a true, heartfelt worship to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe? Will you be that one to give praise and honor and worship and glory to the One, who, when you were a sinner, sent His Son Jesus to do something for you, that you couldn't do for yourself and you certainly deserve the opposite.

Will you be that one?

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