Christian Entitlement- It isn’t always about money!
America and Christian entitlement. It is truly astonishing what the United States has accomplished in pursuit of religious freedom. From our earliest history, Americans have created an amazing society where you can openly speak of God, how you believe, and even spread the gospel to those around you. On the world stage, America gave more than $378 billion dollars last year; an estimated $74.5 billion of that donated directly to local congregations. Did you know that U.S. Christians collectively earn more than $5.2 trillion per year? That is estimated to be nearly half of the world’s total income.
So, with so much giving and prosperity, how can anyone look to the American Christian and say that we are entitled? First off, we can’t judge American entitlement from our giving. If we have anything, we most certainly have money. As of January 2023, in Georgia, you can start at Chick-fil-a earning $9.01 per hour. To put that into perspective, working one hour at $9.01 would pay for more than ten pounds of rice in sub-Saharan Africa. In India, it would buy 33 loaves of bread! 75% of the population in third world countries survive on $2 per day!
But this isn’t about how $1 a day can save a starving baby. America is a giving nation and that is not the epidemic we are talking about here. We are a nation of entitled Christians.
The Real Epidemic
Our religious freedoms have blessed our nation beyond all measure. Allowing each individual, a personal relationship with God has opened our faith to new horizons, enabling His name in our very constitution and allegiance we pledge. Our own leaders have prayed for our nation on national television as they take our highest oath of office. God is entwined in the creation of this nation and is the catalyst that has led America to the forefront of the world. But it has also led to the creation of a sense of Christian entitlement. There has been a drastic change; loss of gratitude and no sense of indebtedness.
Christian Entitlement: Loss of Indebtedness
Most countries would agree that Americans know how to work, probably too well. To show where I am going with this, let’s use an example.
You are at a restaurant, enjoying your large steak and potatoes when the bill comes. It is at this point that you realize you do not have your wallet with you. Therefore, you have no way to pay.
I have faith that most Americans would feel so bad that we would offer to scrub dishes. Perhaps even rush home to get our billfold. Maybe even pay a little extra for the inconvenience. Just the notion that we owe an individual like this, we go out of our way to make it right.
Why is salvation different?
Salvation was given and there is no price we can repay. We are indebted to Jesus for more than we will ever own. The price of our salvation cost Jesus everything, but we feel that nothing is needed on our part. We have no sense of indebtedness to God. America has lost its sense of gratitude for the greatest kindness ever bestowed on us. It is true, you cannot earn your salvation, but you can be indebted for it. You can have conviction to do as much as possible for God to fulfill His will and show your appreciation.
Instead, Americans find that it is enough to call ourselves Christians while going about our lives in a way pleasing to ourselves. Sure, we give to missions or place a little in the offering plate each week. But what is it that we do for God when we leave the church doors. While you were racing from the restaurant to find your wallet, would anything else be on your mind until you finally returned to pay your debt? Why is God not on our mind every second of every day. Why is He no longer a part of our decisions, our planning, our praise of thanksgiving? We are entitled Christians and we are taking God for granted. Just like a spoiled child during Christmas, we are enjoying the fruits from the labors of our forefathers while forgetting the God that blessed them for those fruits.
Christian Entitlement: Loss of Gratitude
As a father to two young and hyper boys, I can tell you they rarely sit still long enough to really show gratitude. But when it really matters, they will speak up and say thank you or give us a big hug, even for the smallest thing. As parents, we don’t expect it or give them things to receive their gratitude. We do it because we love them, and we want them to be happy. But it really is a nice feeling when your kids are so thankful that they show their gratitude.
God is no different. Jesus did not sacrifice Himself to receive the gratitude of the billions He would save. If that was the case, He probably shouldn’t have done it! Instead, Christ died for our salvation because He loves us unconditionally. Just like a parent with their child, we give out of love but that doesn’t mean that gratitude isn’t appreciated.
And we should be grateful to God for everything! Things could be a lot different for us on Earth, but instead, God created the oceans full of fish and land full of potential harvests. If you like your steak, remember God didn’t have to make cows! He is the great provider, and we owe him our gratitude for everything down to the food we eat and the air we breathe. Not because He expects it, but because He deserves it. In doing so, we also teach our children from an early age to appreciate everything God gives them in life and to show their gratitude to Him in all that they have in life.
Gratitude and Indebtedness- They aren’t foreign concepts to Americans
As Americans, we come from a long history of men and women who knew they owed everything to God. And this tradition is not lost, in fact, you may very well still carry this legacy and share it with your children. But the truth is that the entitled Christian is becoming a majority. Those who see their salvation as a calling to serve God and put Him in the forefront of their lives, we are a dying breed, at least in the U.S.
If we learn anything from our first steps toward salvation it is that God will provide. God has a great plan for you and He will give you everything you need to accomplish it. It is your responsibility to admit that you need Him and that His love is worth more than everything else in this world. Your Father in heaven gives His love freely and openly in hope that you will do the same.
So, let’s carry those two words with us each day as we try to walk closer to our Father. Although we know He gives us everything, let us return His generosity with genuine gratitude and a sense of indebtedness. He is undoubtedly leading each of us down a righteous path, so let’s eagerly take His hand and let our Father lead.
Written by Jon Frederick and Kathleen Frederick, with Seven11 and Authors of “Immersion- An Inspirational Christian Photography Collection“
“Almighty God. As we stand here at this moment… Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong…”President Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President
“…with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”President John F. Kennedy, 35th President
“…my first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads: Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love…” President George H.W. Bush, 41st PresidentPresident George H.W. Bush, 41st President
“From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth…. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty…”President George W. Bush, 43rd President