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Sermon No: 1584-Gratitude versus entitlement



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SERMON TOPIC: Gratitude versus entitlement

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 4 January 2015

Topic Groups: ENTITLEMENT, GRATITUDE

Sermon synopsis: Entitlement:The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

Sunday Tribune (28 Dec 2014) Wolf Bernhardt writes society’s sense of taking what we believe is rightfully ours leads to a host of negative consequences harmful to others around us.
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Gratitude vs Entitlement.

Entitlement:The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

The disease of entitlement.

Sunday Tribune (December 28 2014 at 02:24pm)Wolf Bernhardt writes society’s sense of taking what we believe is rightfully ours leads to a host of negative consequences harmful to others around us.

We live in a world that seems to be out of control. Every day the newspapers are full of horror stories such as the abduction of 279 schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, terrorist attacks by extremist groups like the Islamic State in Syria, and Iraq destroying the lives of innocent people, imprisonment and the threat to execute women and others because they choose to be Christians.

Then there is government expenditure on so-called “security” upgrades on the president’s private residence using millions of taxpayers’ money, our elected leaders behaving like hooligans in Parliament, the collapse of shopping malls and church buildings due to poor workmanship. The list goes on and on. Generally, our ways of dealing with these “out of control” situations involve trying to identify who is to blame, taking them to court, or fighting force with force. Society has been employing these methods for years, and it has made no difference. If we are realistic, we must admit that we can only bring about a change in the situations in which we ourselves are involved.

The disease of entitlement.

If we do nothing, or blame others, the situation is likely to get worse. If we are prepared to get our hands dirty, have an honest look at ourselves, and carefully analyse the causes that produced the situation, then we can start addressing those causes and begin a turnaround.

So what does it take to bring about lasting beneficial change in this world that seems to be on a self-destructive slide? To make it real, I think it is fair to say that we all battle with the disease called “entitlement”. We know exactly what is our due, and we tend to go to enormous lengths to get what we believe is rightfully ours. That spirit is so blatantly expressed in the current TV advertisement: “I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now”. The problem, of course, is that others do not have the same view of what rightfully belongs to us, and this is where the conflict starts.

Is it a reasonable assumption that our weakness, like the disease of entitlement, and our inability to deal with it, is the root of a lot of the suffering in the world? If that belief of “this is my due” goes unchecked it can lead to a host of consequences such as: embezzlement of funds, aggressive behaviour, violent arguments, and even terrorist attacks. The focus is on what the perpetrator wants, without regard for how it affects others.

Gratitude vs Entitlement.

If the same spirit of entitlement and ingratitude that characterizes our culture characterizes us, what do we have to offer?

"If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get."

Frank A. Clark

"Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts."

Henri Frederic Amiel

"It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.“

Naomi Williams

Gratitude vs Entitlement.

A Sense of Gratitude and Entitlement Among Students

Entitlement is, according to Emmons, a “chosen attitude.” We must be willing to recognize and acknowledge that we are the recipients of an unearned benefit. This is especially rare among middle-class high school and college students who’ve grown up in a world that’s revolved around them; one that allows them to build a platform via social media without displaying value; one that repeatedly communicates they are “awesome” and deserve trophies just for playing. This world actually cultivates a sense of entitlement. Students feel they deserve any good they’ve received. It is, in fact, contrary to the growth of a spirit of gratitude. Entitlement is virtually the opposite of gratitude: as I feel more entitled, my gratitude shrinks. Author and researcher, Dr. Robert Emmons

Research indicates that gratitude is not merely a positive emotion—it can improve your health if cultivated. Research also indicates that students must give up a “victim mentality” and overcome a sense of entitlement and deservedness. Think for a moment. When someone feels entitled to something, there’s little need for gratitude: I don’t need to thank someone; I deserved the gift. In fact, these people are lucky to have me around. I’m amazing.

Gratitude & Thanksgiving.

Gratitude has to do with our attitude. (Something in our heart)

Thanksgiving is the expression of our gratitude. (This involves our mouth and tongue)

Silent gratitude isn't very much to anyone. Gertrude Stein

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. William Arthur Ward

Mike Murdock put 120 young people through Bible College, after 90 days he never heard from them again.

2 Timothy 3:1-5. In the last days men will be ungrateful.

A characteristics of the wicked is mentioned in Romans 1:21. They did not give thanks to God.

We need not only to have a attitude of gratitude,

we need to express our thanks.

The ten lepers healed.

In the following account only one returned to thank the Lord.

Luke 17:10-17.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master have pity on us!

When he saw them, he said, Go,

show yourselves to the priests. And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner? Then he said to him, Rise and go; your faith has made you well.

Being thankful in adverse circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5:18.

In everything give thanks for this is the will of God.

Paul and Silas in prison.

Acts 16:22-25.

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.

When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Take note: The other prisoners were listening to them, not just hearing them. Do those around you listen to you or only hear you?

Being thankful in adverse circumstances.

Philippians 4:4-7.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 11:24-27.

Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (Paul knew what it was like to suffer adversity)

Being thankful or a grumbler.

Philippians 2:14-16.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain.

1 Peter 4:9.

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Numbers 14:27.

How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me?

I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.

The Israelites grumbled in the desert.

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they grumbled, murmured and complained.

They didn’t like his leadership, and they were tired of eating manna. They actually wanted to go back to Egypt where they were beaten and forced to work long hours in the sun.

The Israelites thought their enemies were the reason they couldn’t get to the Promised Land, but it was their attitude that kept them wandering around in the wilderness. (See Numbers 11.) All they needed to do was be positive.

Now, think about the things in your life that you were so excited about when God first blessed you—the baby you were praying for, the spouse you longed for, that promotion you tried so hard to get. They may be the very thing you complain about today!

The nature of human flesh, if it is not disciplined and controlled by the Holy Spirit, will always drift toward the negative. You never have to try to complain, but it does take a lot of faith and effort to maintain a grateful, thankful attitude. Joyce Meyer

The Israelites grumbled in the desert.

1 Corinthians 10:1-6 & 10.

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea…..

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did….

And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel

Numbers 11:1-3.

Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the Lord had burned among them.

The Israelites grumbled in the desert.

Numbers 11:4-6:

The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost, also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!

Numbers 11:31-34.

Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It scattered them up to two cubits deep all around the camp, as far as a day’s walk in any direction. All that day and night and all the next day the people went out and gathered quail. No one gathered less than ten homers. Then they spread them out all around the camp. But while the meat was still between their teeth and before it could be consumed, the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and he struck them with a severe plague. Therefore the place was named Kibroth Hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had craved other food.

Begging vs working.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, labouring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good. Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.

Begging vs working.

It is important to notice that this instruction in 2 Thessalonians 3 is to believers on how to behave towards other believers who are idle and do not work for a living.

We need to be aware that there are unbelievers who are trapped in sinful ways and lifestyles that need to be reached with the Gospel. Scripture is full of instruction regarding our treatment of the poor.

Peter healed the lame man at the entrance to the Temple.

Jesus healed blind Bartimeaus.

Their need to beg was now gone they could look for employment without the hindrance of a handicap. I am more inclined to give to people with disabilities and do not give to able bodied beggars, especially adults, however I admire those who even though they are disabled do something to generate an income.

In this area of giving we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and if we have a burden, try help in a way that gets them out of a situation of dependence while showing the love of Christ.

Gratitude and thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:15-17.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Are you thankful?

Are you grateful?

Do you think this ministry is not for you?

Gratitude and thanksgiving.

1 Timothy 2:1-4. I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Just look at the world today where dictatorial Governments have been removed in many cases by the West directly or indirectly.

Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Syria just to name a few.

Do we appreciate what we have in South Africa when we look at the plight of many Nations in our own Continent, like Sudan, DRC etc or are we too busy talking about E-Tolls, load-shedding and Nkandla.

How would you like to be in a country where this man is Supreme Ruler?

Pray and give thanks for those in authority.

Durban - President Jacob Zuma has pleaded with religious leaders not to pray for the demise of the government if they feel aggrieved by the ANC’s conduct.

Zuma was addressing thousands of Twelve Apostles Church in Christ congregants who had packed the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Sunday.

The charismatic church, whose members arrived from all corners of the country and beyond, held an International Thanksgiving Day celebration, which KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu also attended.

Zuma, who was invited as guest speaker, said religious leaders should give direction to the government “in a constructive way, without becoming permanent critics of the government. When we go wrong we need help. We need the church to pray for us, and not the opposition. He said the church should also teach people about unity and revive the “an injury to one is an injury to all” slogan. Zuma said religion should also teach young people about the true meaning of democracy and freedom, as these concepts were being misinterpreted and abused by people who used them to be rude to government leaders. December 1 2014 By Bongani Hans

Pray and give thanks for those in authority.

1 Peter 2:13-19.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honour the emperor. Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God.

The village of fools.

Once there was a very poor village in the midst of a desolate and barren land.

The inhabitants were half-starved, for they could barely grow any food in the rocky soil that surrounded their village. One evening, a wealthy nobleman passed through the village.

As the hour had grown late, he decided to stay the night. He called out to the first person he saw, My good man! Could you show me the way to the inn? The inn? the villager asked. We have no inn. We never had much use for one here. But won’t you come and stay at my house? The nobleman accepted the humble invitation. When the other villagers heard about the stranger who was to spend the night there, they quickly gathered together the best that they had and prepared a feast for him.

The village of fools.

The nobleman was so impressed with their hospitality, and so moved by their poverty, that he vowed to help them. A few months later, a large freight wagon drawn by a team of horses arrived at the village. It was loaded down with grain, dried fruit, salted meat, and cheese. Soon, another wagon came, carrying bolts of warm, sturdy cloth for garments, and wood, bricks, and straw for repairing the shacks and hovels that the villagers called homes.

The people of the village received these gifts with great joy, realizing that their visitor had become their benefactor.

The more learned among them sat down at once and wrote long thank you letters.

Then, they held a town meeting and deliberated at great length about erecting a statue of their benefactor, if only they could afford to do it.

The village of fools.

As the weeks, months, and years passed, the wagon loads continued to come regularly. After a long time, the villagers began to take their benefactor for granted. The once-regular letters of gratitude became an annual formality, a disagreeable duty, and soon, the people dispensed with the letters altogether. Many years later, the nobleman, who by now had become even wealthier, was travelling through that part of the world. He decided to stop and visit his village. As he neared the place, he was pleased to see sturdy houses with thatched roofs where before flimsy shacks had stood. But the surrounding fields looked as if they had lain fallow for years.

The villagers, he noticed, had grown fat, and he saw that most of them were sitting idly in the middle of the day.

The village of fools.

Through an open window, he saw a few women sewing dresses from the latest shipment of cloth. He overheard one of them complaining, This miserable cloth! Why couldn’t we be sent some ready-sewn clothes?

The nobleman approached a dour-faced young man who was coming toward him and asked, My good fellow, do you know where I might find lodging for the night?

The young man shrugged, Why don’t you ask someone else? he retorted. I’m too busy. I’m the only one around these parts who works. What sort of work do you do? asked the nobleman. The young man shrugged again in disgust.

I’m the town miller. Every so often we get a huge carload of grain, and I’m the one who gets stuck with the bothersome task of grinding it into flour. He hurried off without another word or a backward glance.

The village of fools.

Then, the nobleman searched and found the small house where he had first received shelter so long ago. He knocked, and a familiar face appeared. It was the son of the villager who had first given him lodging. I have travelled far, and I am weary, he explained. May I spend the night with your family? We don’t appreciate strangers in these parts, came the gruff reply, but if you really must stay, there’s an inn down the road. Incensed, the nobleman turned and left the village. He immediately cancelled all further deliveries of food and supplies. Then the villagers, who by now had forgotten how to farm and how to work, found themselves in worse condition than before. Those villagers acted foolishly. They had forgotten their benefactor, and had neglected to give him thanks. They had taken his gifts for granted, and even despised some of them because of the inconvenience of putting them to use. Perhaps worst of all, they had not recognized their benefactor when he came to them, and they had treated him badly.

The village of fools.

Many people today are like those foolish villagers. They forget their Divine Benefactor, who daily supplies their most basic needs. Instead of grumbling, like the women of the village who were too lazy to sew, and the miller who despised his trade, they should be grateful. Let’s not be fools this Thanksgiving – even with all the things in our lives, our country, and our world that could be better. Let’s remember to give thanks to the One to whom we owe all that we are, all that we have, and all we ever hope to be and have.

Let us be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5.20).

Joel Kleinbaum,

From Gratitude to Entitlement.

Trisha and I just completed week four of Financial Peace University.

We have been a part of financial classes before, I have taught Sunday series on financial management, but when we made a decision to move from the marketplace back into ministry, we knew that we had to get our finances under control.

We chose to take a significant pay reduction to go back into ministry, so knowing where our money goes and why it is going to those places is a “no brainer” for us. I am ashamed it has taken us this long to take this class, because it has been a game changer for us.

What I am more ashamed of is the junk this class has revealed in my heart. As Trisha and I have talked through our budget, it is pretty obvious that some of our spending patterns are going to change. As the numbers have been put on paper and values assigned to each category, I’ve noticed my attitude shift.

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From Gratitude to Entitlement.

I’d love to say that I’ve had a heart of gratitude for the provision of God. I’d love to say that I have been so grateful in a down economy to have a consistent pay check. I’d love to tell you that I’ve been joy filled during each conversation about our new budget, knowing that I don’t even deserve to be in ministry.

Sadly, that hasn’t been the case. My heart drifts. I drift from gratitude to entitlement. “I deserve to have this car, this house, these clothes, and this furniture! I have earned the right to buy what I want, when I want.” What God has revealed to me in this class, is that entitlement with my money is just the symptom of a much larger heart disease.

Entitlement constantly threatens to erode gratitude from every area of my life. Too often I am trying to cling to things I think I deserve instead of being humble enough to see everything as a gift and living through a heart of gratitude.

Am I alone on this? Anyone else struggle with entitlement and forget to be grateful?

Refine us: Justin & Trish

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THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org/)




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