It had been a long week and I needed a spark of energy. I walked over to pick up my mail and found that someone had sent me a birthday card. I was pumped. I couldn’t wait to see what store I got a gift card to, or better yet, how much cash I got. As my heart raced with excitement, I slowly opened the card with eyes wide open. As I flipped it open, my eyes zoomed in to see what type of gift card I had received. As I looked inside the card, my heart dropped and my excitement soon turned into disappointment. There was no gift card and no cash, just a bunch of handwritten words. The letter no longer sparked my energy; in fact, it drained my energy as I became angry because I didn’t get a gift card.
Have you ever had a moment like this? You receive something, but become bitter because you didn’t get all that you wanted. This happens to me all the time. This is because we are a people of entitlement. We feel that we deserve “this” and “that” and to receive anything less would be ungodly. This creates ungrateful, bitter, jealous, covetous, angry, and entitled people who take no joy in the things present in their lives. We are a culture that always thirsts for more. We covet what others have and are ungrateful for what we do have. This makes for a miserable life in which satisfaction comes and goes quicker than the wind.
What if instead of having an attitude of entitlement, we adopt an attitude of gratitude? Life would be so much better! If I had an attitude of gratitude when receiving that birthday card, I would have seen the value in it. Instead of seeing what my friends didn’t do, I would have seen that they spent their time writing a hand-written letter to express their love to me. Not only would that card have meant more to me, but I would have appreciated my friends even more.
There are many times I become angry towards God because he gives me an empty letter. Sure, there is writing in it, but no gift card. I tell God “Is this it? Is this all you’re going to do for me? I deserve more than this!” When I become entitled towards God I become bitter towards him. I act as if God owes me something. I have to shift my mindset from entitlement to gratitude. When I do this, I see God in a different light. I don’t become bitter at what he doesn’t give me, but rather am grateful for anything he does give me. When I am grateful, I appreciate God and the things he has given me even more.
1 Chronicles 16:34 says to “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” If we can’t be grateful for our relationships, financial status, house, clothes, looks, or abilities, let’s at least be grateful for God’s love. Don’t be like me and become bitter because you didn’t find a gift card inside your letter. Be a person of gratitude that is thankful for what has been given to him by God, even if it is an empty letter. If anything, let’s be grateful for the gift of God’s love and what Christ did on the Cross for us.