I was chatting with a young man the other day. He wanted some money and was hoping that he could get some help from the state, from his relatives and from the church. He was a perfectly able bodied young man, quite capable of earning a living in a variety of ways. But he was not a morning person, so he did not want to have to get up early. He did not care for physical labor, so he did not want a job that required sweating. He had a whole list of reasons why he did not want to work at any jobs that were currently available in the area. After listening to him awhile, I politely declined his request for assistance.
We live in a world in which everyone wants all the benefits of a free modern prosperous society, but no one wants the responsibilities that go with it. Each spouse wants a happy marriage, but they both expect the other spouse to do most of the work. Parents want good kids, but expect the teacher at school to produce them. Everyone wants to have lots of money in their pocket, but they do not want to have to work too many hours to produce it. People want to have health care, but they do not want to pay for it. We have become a society that expects a lot but lacks the desire to put forth the effort to make those benefits happen.
This same sense of entitlement spills over into the church. People want a church that will meet all their needs, but they expect someone else to teach the Sunday School classes, watch the nursery, print the bulletin, clean the bathrooms, preach the sermons, give the money, lead the music, prepare the refreshments and lead all the weekday programs. But that is simply an unrealistic expectation. There is no such thing as benefits without responsibility.
As a society, we need to rediscover the value of working hard to achieve our goals. We need to stop expecting someone else to do all the hard work while we reap the rewards. This is not a new concept. The Apostle Paul talked about this in 2 Thessalonians 2:10, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” and in Galatians 6:5, “for each one should carry his own load.” It may be an age old concept, but a new generation needs to learn it or our society may not endure much longer.