Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dealing with Entitlement


The other day I was hanging out with a friend of mine. This person is a young adult and quite talented in a lot of areas, but does not get a lot of support from immediate family. My friend only has a part time job and a number of Christians in my circle of friends have been helping this individual stay afloat financially. Since helping people in need is part of what it means to be a Christian, it is okay that many of us have been helping this person out. But this has been going on for nearly two years and some people have begun to feel taken advantage of. As we were hanging out, I mentioned that it was time for my friend to find additional employment in order to provide for personal financial needs. My friend's answer amazed me. I was told that additional employment was not needed because the part time job was enough. After all, it was important to have time to hang out with friends and do fun stuff.


I was somewhat flabbergasted by this response. After a moment of fumbling around verbally, I finally worked up the courage to point out that it was only working with a part time job because other people were helping out. I went on to point out that all those people who were helping worked full time jobs themselves and some of them even worked two jobs. I asked how long other people should work extra hours at their own jobs in order to help out a person who only worked a part time job. There was no answer.

As the conversation continued, it became increasingly awkward. It was obvious that my friend felt entitled to receive help from others even though there was so much more my friend could to make the situation better. The fact that my friend is a healthy able-bodied young adult quite capable of working more hours apparently had never occurred my friend. My friend had gotten used to other people meeting the need and somehow imagined that they would keep doing it indefinitely. I tried to be gentle as I attempted to help my friend understand that people had grown weary of helping when my friend was capable of doing more personally. I am still not sure my friend really grasped the responsibility each adult has to provide for oneself.


This experience reminded me of what Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat." I wonder if this Christian young adult had somehow missed that verse. This experience also reminded me of the truth of Galatians 6:5, "for each one should carry his own load." Both of these verses teach that ultimately each individual should be doing their best to make their own way in life.


We all go through hard times and need help in those moments. But there is a difference between going through a short term crisis in which we need help and just expecting others to pay our way through life so we can hang out with our friends. This sense of entitlement is not healthy, nor is it biblical. Churches that want to help young adults discover a vibrant faith must find the courage to talk about these kinds of issues openly, lovingly, and firmly. Lord, give us courage to speak the truth in love!

25 comments:

  1. Terry,

    I've prayed this prayer for years and found it to be a great help.

    OLDFIVEPOINTER’S SERENITY PRAYER

    Lord, help me to do for my neighbor that which he can’t do for himself,

    Help me not to do for him that which he won’t do for himself,

    And grant me the wisdom to know the difference. AMEN!

    Mike

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  2. Todd Goulet, pastor, Concord Community Church, Concord, VermontJuly 18, 2010 at 9:41 PM

    Interesting. It seems the law of unintended consequences is fulfilled as much in the Church as without.

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  3. Todd Goulet, pastor, Concord Community Church, Concord, VermontJuly 18, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    You may like this book. After reading your blog about entitlement I was reminded of how Barna challenges not only the majority of what we "do" in the Church, but why we do it. At times we as Pastors set up dependencies that should not be there, and abdicate responsiblity from the believer to ourselves. It's a good read.

    http://www.paganchristianity.net/

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  4. Well said. I have this same concern and issue with my son and his "fiance'" because they are essentially mooching off of us right now. We didn't raise him to live like this, but he's painted himself into a corner with his choices and behaviors. Whether living off family and friends or the social services system, it seems like this has become a life plan for some people rather than a temporary help.

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  5. Thought provoking and much needed news for some. Behavior like that reminds me of the old Maw and Paw Kettle movies where AW is too lazy to work. He liked hanging out with his friends. Funny in the movies but not so funny in real life. Look forward to seeing everyone in Vermont. The kids are excited from Concord!

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  6. This can be a tough situation. I've been there too. My friend manages money poorly and spends what she earns on fun stuff. When she can't pay the bills, someone always comes to her rescue. We don't do anyone any favors when we allow them to act irresponsibly and rely on other people to bail them out of tight spots. We need to learn how to help them learn responsible behavior as we give a helping hand. It's not easy to do!!

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  7. Dr. David Scott Lee, pastor, Newbury Bible Church, Newbury, VermontJuly 19, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Good word.

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  8. Terry,

    Thanks for "Dealing with Entitlement." You are absolutely right.

    And without meaning to be political, the same issue prevails among many Americans today in relationship to our government. As long as the government will take care of us from the "cradle to the grave," why should we seek even part time employment? And pending the Lord's return within a few years, yours and my children and grandchildren will pay the huge bill for these entitlements.

    Merwyn

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  9. Bingo - unfortunately, I know some young folks with the same attitude. It is absolutely amazing to someone raised a few generations ago.

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  10. You are on target.

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  11. I say: "AMEN TO THIS~" We not only have that kind of problems, but we walso have people who won't work as long as the "rocking chair" money holds out. One man said last week: "Why should I try to get another job? I make almost as much from the Government check as I would working." So, is our Government causing a lot of this kind of attitude? Maybe so. I am for helping people who cannot help themselves, but to help free loaders is not in my mind.

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  12. This post was published by Baptist Press. You can see their post here.

    http://www.bpnews.net/BPFirstPerson.asp?ID=33377

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  13. Needless to say, I always give folks the benefit of doubt. Then it's between them and God.

    Mike

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  14. People interested in talking to Mike about what God might be doing in their lives are invited to go to:

    http://www.oldfivepointer.com

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  15. This article was also reposted at:

    http://www.fbcvidalia.org/

    ReplyDelete
  16. This article was also reposted at:

    http://carrlanebaptist1988.wordpress.com/

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  17. This article was also reposted at:

    http://interceder.net/i/BP

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  18. Jane ShortsleevesJuly 20, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Ah the "me generation" strikes again. I am frequently dismayed by this very attitude. Heard of a bumper sticker that says "Work hard. Millions of people on welfare depend on you." I wish that were not true. I don't begrudge those who need help, really need help. I am down right angry at those who take what they didn't earn instead of getting what they really deserve. I am also angry at those who enable them to do it!

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  19. This article was reposted at:

    http://www.crosswalk.com/11635182/

    ReplyDelete
  20. This articel was also reposted at:

    http://www.wava.com/finances/11635182/

    ReplyDelete
  21. This article was also reposted at:

    http://www.southerngospel.com/Family/Finances/11635182/

    ReplyDelete
  22. This article was also reposted at:

    http://www.kkla.com/finances/11635182/

    ReplyDelete
  23. this was a good article.

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  24. Pastor Al BrodbentJuly 22, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    One of the areas, in my financial counseling, that I review with a client is a complete financial analysis that shows where they are and what they can do. From there I ask them to choose what they plan on cutting to get to the bare minimum (My hardest time was with a client that couldn't let loose of the $100.00 a month sports channels).

    Then I solicit subsidies from other Christians for a 90 day period. When I have that then I go back and explain to the client they need to be able to absorb those monies within 90 days.

    I have learned that if I don't do this BEFORE ANY SUBSIDIES it never works and I loose them as a friend. Yours In Christ.

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  25. I appreciate the courage it takes to tell someone about their own life. I deal with those who live their Christianity with an "entitlement" mentality. It is difficult for them to understand that being a part of the church is not only a place to "get something" but also the place "give something" in the way of service and worship to our LORD. In this modern culture, however, the entitlement thinking is deeply rooted. Through the truth of God's word, however, I believe that every Christian will find the grace to overcome the entitlement mentality.

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