Watch out for entitlement.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I’m thinking about that Samaritan leper healed by Jesus. Remember the story? Ten outcasts get healed, and only one comes back to say thanks. It’s a strange story.
Then Jesus said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18) Good question. Why would nine pure-breed Jews simply move on with life while a half-breed Samaritan comes back to give thanks to this Jewish messiah?
Because entitled people are never grateful.
You will not be grateful for the things you feel entitled to. You will not be grateful for the things you think you deserve. You will not be grateful when you feel like you have the right to expect something of people. Entitlement kills your thanksgiving. And your joy. And your peace. By the way, few things kill a marriage like a couple of entitled people living together, highly aware of how much the other person owes them.
Entitlement is anti-grace.
I’ll never forget the week I spent with persecuted Christians in Cuba. They challenged me in a multitude of ways, but one sentence in particular still rings in my ears. Life is a gift, not a right.
No wonder we’re not more thankful. My culture has discipled me to fight for my rights. The problem is, I never see gifts while I’m focused on my rights.
Let’s do this.
1) Go vertical. Give thanks to the Lord. Take some time to count your blessings. Name them one by one. Ultimately, recognize the amazing gift of the gospel and go practice your Spanish. Gracias. I love this word because it reminds me of it’s root: gracia. Grace. I don’t want what I deserve, and neither do you.
2) Then go horizontal. Make a few phone calls. Write a few notes. Send a few texts. Let a few people know you see them as gifts of God in your life.
Don’t miss the grace for the gravy. Happy Thanksgiving.