Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taken for Granted or Thanked with Gratitude?

Recently there was a campaign here in my city to increase the local sales tax as a way to offer incentives to companies to move their businesses into our city. While the measure actually failed, I was quite interested in listening to the debate among residents and city business leaders. I heard all kinds of good arguments both for and against the proposal. However, there was one particular gentleman in our city who was all for the proposal. He saw me and talked for 15 minutes. Over and over again he said the same thing, "Pastor, the people of our city deserve more and better businesses. Our children deserve more businesses. We just deserve to make life better for ourselves."

I understand the guy's passion because who doesn't want things to be better for themselves, their children, or their neighbors. However, that one phrase he continued to use over and over haunted me for the past couple of weeks when he said, "we deserve better." This is a distinct reflection of the mind set of people in our society today. We genuinely think "we deserve" all kinds of things. I deserve the latest and greatest smart phone. I deserve to drive a nice car. I deserve to get a raise for showing up everyday and doing the job I was hired to do. I deserve to have my pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less. My kids deserve to have the best sports leagues, school rooms, eateries, and entertainment. On and on we go convincing ourselves that  "we deserve" more and better than we have right now as if we are entitled to these things.

What we have done is we have taken for granted the blessings of a God who loves us! All these things are luxuries. We do not need them to survive and many of these things do not even make our lives better, our families closer, or our spiritual lives stronger. Yet act like there is a God-given right that we have because "we deserve" these things. I am afraid we are becoming a people, even in the church, who practice neither generosity or gratitude.

Have you ever gone to a lot of trouble to do something really nice for someone, but when the time came that person barely even acknowledged all your effort, sacrifice, cost, or investment? You worked hard to surprise someone, bless them, or minister to them and they may have not even said, "Thank you." How disappointing!

Imagine how God must feel when He so richly blesses our lives with all these things we do not deserve including sending His only Son to die on the cross for our sins, and in turn we do not even acknowledge God's love and goodness towards us. Maybe what we need to do is pause right now and say "Thank You" to God for all He has done for us. Be specific and tell God why you are thankful for these things. Let's make sure God is thanked with gratitude and not taken for granted!