Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Deserving a Cupcake: Diabetic retinopathy (spiritual and physical)

"No one, after lighting a lamp, puts it away in a cellar nor under a basket, but on the lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. The eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you is not darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays." (Luke 11:33-36 NASB)

We are currently taking a detour through a few eye diseases to help us understand the concept of "clear eye" and to make spiritual applications. We have previously considered Macular DegenerationGlaucomaDetached RetinaCataracts, and Diabetic Retinopathy. You can click on the links to see those. Today, we are taking a little side trip from Diabetic Retinopathy. (You'll be able to find a thread from diabetic retinopathy leading to today's topic.)

An odd thing happened yesterday, and I'm going to confess it. I'm helping in Bible School this week. (That's not the confession part). I'm working with some of my very favorite people. The children are all beautiful and smart, sweet and loving. It was a wonderful day. It was also an incredibly hard and stressful day. After the last precious child left, I, who haven't taken a nap in years, seriously wanted to go home, climb in bed, and take a nap. 

As I was driving home, the thought came to me, "After a day like this, I deserve a cupcake." Yeah, right. If we talked about what I actually deserve, we would not be talking about cupcakes. My bent toward sin should result in death and eternal damnation. I don't deserve a cupcake. I deserve a cup of wrath. It is only because of the mercy and grace of God that I can look forward to an eternity in heaven. Praise God, He doesn't give me what I deserve.

I had hoped to be rid of my sense of entitlement, that attitude of "I deserve". I'm obviously not there yet, and I'm not the only one. The cupcake considerations have left me wondering about this sense of entitlement that has become so pervasive. Why is it that we think we deserve anything at all, that we are entitled to anything at all? 

I reviewed the U.S. Bill of Rights, just in case it has caused this sense of entitlement, but there are no cupcakes in the Bill of Rights. It guarantees our "rights" to certain freedoms like religion, speech, assembly, a free press, keeping and bearing arms, unreasonable search and seizure, among others. It doesn't guarantee a right to the latest cell phone, a big house, central air conditioning, or tasty and nutritious food. It doesn't guarantee housing or transportation. It doesn't guarantee medical care or medication.

As believers, God certainly doesn't guarantee us many of the comforts to which we have become "entitled". It is clear from Scripture that the closest followers of Christ faced trials, peril, persecution, and a martyr's death. The reward was in their relationship with God and the blessings found in eternity. 

Why does a sense of entitlement matter? Entitlement robs us of gratitude. It destroys a sacrifice of thanksgiving. We cannot give thanks in all things if we believe we deserve only the best. When we "deserve" all the best things, nothing is a gift. We accept that which comes our way as our just due rather than as a gift from a gracious and loving God. That sense of deserving the best is a form of pride, and God takes a dim view of such foolishness.

I've repented of my pride and sense of entitlement. Again. I'm counting my blessings and thanking God for His generosity to me. What about you? Has that sense of entitlement slowly crept into your heart, as well? If so, then join me in repenting of our pride and embracing the generosity of God.

"for by grace you have been saved through faith; 
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 
not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Ephesians 2:8,9 NASB