Re-thinking “entitlement” thinking

entitlementThere’s a huge conversation taking place these days revolving around the idea of “entitlement.”

I’m sure that if we sat down and had this conversation, there would be a divergence of views on this subject… see I have liberal and conservative friends (imagine that) who are all over the place on this topic.

HOWEVER, this morning while reading in the Bible, I came across an idea that would completely resolve the matter of entitlement thinking.

Let me give you some background.

Paul, the apostle, was getting ready to leave his friends in the city of Ephesus. He was headed to Rome where it was probable that he would be imprisoned and even put to death for his teachings about Jesus. He, and they, knew that this would be the last time they would see one another.

After reminding them of his style of leadership and ministry, he says these words which indirectly address the contemporary matter of entitlement (the bolding was done by this Paul… not that Paul).

I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

 Paul identifies three factors that would completely dissolve the problem of entitlement thinking:

  1. He did not covet the possessions of others.
  2. He took responsibility for himself by working hard.
  3. He took responsibility for others by being generous.

Imagine in our country if everyone STOPPED demanding equal results without equal input. Covetousness is a sin (it’s in the Ten Commandments – “Do not covet” – see Exodus 20:17).

Imagine if everyone STARTED working to provide for their own needs and desires.

Imagine if everyone STARTED making sure that their needs were met… and then looked over the fence to make sure their neighbor’s needs were met too!

It would be a different world!

Rather than wanting and whining but not working… we’d have men and women who worked to meet their own needs, and then cared for those who weren’t able to make ends meet!

Taxes would decrease, government regulation would be rendered irrelevant, people would be cared for, people would experience the satisfaction that comes with assuming responsibility AND the joy that comes with generosity!

Imagine that!

And guess who’s idea this is? St. Paul said it… but who was he quoting? If you forgot, go back up and read the indented portion of this post again!


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