About Tim Burt

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Compassion, God's Grace, and Entitlement

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Over the 35 plus years I have been in ministry, I have met a number of people who have expressed that God and life are unfair. They've desired and expected great things in their life. That's a good thing! It's good to have dreams and positive expectations. But, I’ve noticed that many people just expect things to come their way. They expect the government, organizations, family, or other individuals to take care of them.


We do have many programs in our states and nation that are good and provide great help and benefits to help get people on their feet so that they can build or rebuild their life. I believe the spirit of programs of welfare and assistance—medical or otherwise, is to help people for a season with the goal of getting them on their feet, improving their standard of living, and so they can move forward making their own way. Some medical assistance programs exist for children and that were born with disabilities. They are to be an aid to them and their parents who struggle with difficult and ongoing life choices. Some programs from government and non-profit organizations aid people with food and housing that are simply trying to survive during trying circumstances. They are all good and a part of what makes our society compassionate, loving, and caring. Many of the people driving and helping with these programs are very compassionate and often secret heroes devoting their lives to the selfless service of helping others. God knows who they are! All of this in its out-working is God's grace reaching through people to help people.

This kind of help is never bad. What is bad is when we have people who abuse the good will of government or compassionate organizations, or even their place of employment because of living with an entitlement attitude. There are those that expect their employers to fill their pockets with benefits—benefits that many employers give to be a blessing to their employees.

Companies exist to make a profit. People who have started them have usually put their life's resources and time on the line to succeed. They did so to be successful and make a profit so they can keep their doors open and keep people employed. They give benefits they can afford because they care for their employees. Yet, they are just as subject to economic downturns as any person. They sometimes have to make adjustments that force them to lay off employees or reduce benefits they were offering out of good will, not entitlement.
Entitlement is defined in the dictionary: to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim. An example of this might be someone that is paying social security through their job. They are entitled to the benefits laid out when their time has come.

What they might get one year but not be entitled to, is a benefit that pays for their eye glasses and examinations. That might be a benefit one year but lost because of the expense of the program to the company the next year. An “entitlement mentality” puts demands on what they are not entitled to, If they don't get it, it too often leads to a poor attitude and an inadequate work effort while expecting more, more, more.

People's attitudes turn into entitlement behaviors that can cause serious problems if they do not recognize them and mature out of them.

The Bible does not teach entitlement concerning our effort to work hard. The Apostle Paul says it completely and perfectly in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 (NLT) “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command with the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from any Christian who lives in idleness and doesn't follow the tradition of hard work we gave you. For you know that you ought to follow our example. We were never lazy when we were with you. We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It wasn't that we didn't have the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this rule: "Whoever does not work should not eat." Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and wasting time meddling in other people's business. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we appeal to such people—no, we command them: Settle down and get to work. Earn your own living.

The Lord through His Word is very clear on what we are entitled to. We are entitled to work hard with a good attitude. Proverbs 10:4 NIV says, “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth." Proverbs 13:4 NLT says, “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” God expects we treat our efforts in working as though we were working directly for Him. Colossians 3:22 instructs us, “Servants, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.“

When you read about entitlement attitudes, it's easy to think of others not relating it to yourself. Let a self-examination ultimately result in you being thankful for everything God has provided for you and thankful to the people used of God who helped you succeed.  Beyond that, don't have an entitlement attitude toward man or God. Get a job. Work hard and be diligent with a good attitude to those you serve. And don't look to your boss or anyone as your source. God is your source! And He cares for you! When your job does not supply all your needs, ask God to help you and to lead you into a better place! Ask God in faith in everything being confident that He loves you and desires to help you with everything in your life. It's the truth!

Philippians 4:6 (NLT) "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all He has done."

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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