“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
Today I would like to have a discussion on two seemingly inoffensive words. Truth is, I would love nothing more than to be around a table sipping hot tea and discussing these words with each and every reader of this blog. I believe where we stand with these words is the pinnacle point as to how we view who we are as people, as Christians and members of each of our communities. Now, let me start by first saying, this is not a political post. Nor is this a ‘faith by works’ post. I am simply posing the thought, would you rather live with a heart of entitlement or a heart of gratefulness?
Entitlement. Webster defines this word as ‘the fact of having a right to something’. Maybe it’s the culture that we live in that develops this heart of entitlement. In a time where common sense is observed less and less and delayed gratification is nonexistent, even in our vocabulary. Entitlement takes an ordinary situation and spoils the ability to find gratefulness.
What can a life living out of a heart of entitlement produce? Selfishness. Pride. Feelings of being stuck.Closed mindedness with a closed heart companion. Bitterness. Anger. Self Loathing.
How can we guard our hearts, minds, actions and families from operating from a stance of entitlement?
Gratitude. Webster defines this word as ‘readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness’. In my most honest observation, gratitude is the polar opposite of entitlement. I don’t mean just saying ‘Thank you’ and moving on feeling good about saying two little words. I mean deep-seated, intrinsic, and genuine over the top gratefulness for all that has been given and we in turn have received!
What can a life living out of gratitude produce? Humble action. Opening your heart to receive blessing, from God and others. Kindness. Satisfaction. Joyfulness. Hopefulness.
The Bible has this to say about our life of gratitude. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Message) ‘Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.’ We are the sons and daughters of the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Though he chooses to freely give his gifts and blessings, let us then strive to be grateful when the world is loudly shouting that we are entitled!