Read Genesis 25:29-34
Service work can be a challenge. You can say all day long you serve for the sake of serving, but boy, does it sting when your gracious act of service is taken for granted.
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and apparently it was true in this case. Countless hours of preparation, a labor of love, went into preparing a meal for the children of our community. It wasn’t hard to forgive them when one or two of them weren’t fans of the food. You can’t please everyone. So one boy took only chips. And a drink. He came back through 3 times for more chips that day. And the next. He didn’t like corn dogs. He didn’t like turkey sandwiches. And the final day, he visibly winced at the announcement of chicken noodle casserole. And that day there were no chips. He was mad. He was ten, and he was angry because there were no chips.
His round face testified to the fact he enjoyed some kinds of food. But rather than being thankful for the four days previous when he consumed a total of 12 bags of chips (one of the main reasons we were out of chips by the last day), he was angry because he couldn’t have what he wanted.
I’m sure many exterior factors were at play in his personal life. He was only ten years old. You can’t hold the kid accountable for much. But he trashed the blessing we offered and robbed us the joy of serving him.
I wonder how many blessings I trash in a day.
Near as I can figure, two things lead to wasted blessings: complaining and entitlement.
I complain a lot. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. The kids are too loud. The kids won’t quit whining, (and I won’t quit whining about it). The grocery store is out of bay leaves. Gas prices are too high. The stock market is too volatile. One side of my house is still a different color than the rest.
I wad up the gift of changing seasons, healthy children, a store to shop in, no money invested means no money to lose, a comfortable home… and I lob it into the trash and whine when I don’t make a basket.
The “I deserve it” attitude takes a blessing and grinds it into the dirt. When we look at life from God’s perspective, what we deserve is…
He made us. He loved us because that’s what He does, it’s who he is, but we deserve none of what he gave us. We did not deserve the garden, we did not deserve a second chance.
But he showed us mercy. Not getting what we deserve: separation from him through death as a result of sin. And he offers grace. Getting something that we don’t deserve: love, a second chance, restoration, and eternal life).
When we let “I deserve to be happy” form how we live our lives, blessings become worthless. If I deserve to be happy, but something happens to make me sad, how am I going to see any blessings at all?
We walk a fine line as Christians. On one hand, we must rejoice always that we are forgiven and redeemed, but at the same time, we must never forget what we were redeemed from, forgiven of. Living too much as forgiven, we are in danger of arrogance, and assuming blessings are a reward. Living too much on the side of total depravity, as John Calvin called it, leaves us vulnerable to the whispers of worthlessness.
There’s a line to balance in the middle where we can receive the good gifts God offers without throwing a fit when he does not bless us the way we anticipate.
I’d like to challenge you today to take a closer look at the gifts you might not be recognizing because of entitlement or complaining. Don’t rob God the pleasure of blessing you.