Does everyone have a sense of entitlement?

by Kent on February 16, 2015

Several discussions I had recently, are leading me to believe that we all have some sense of entitlement, whether we have a lot or not

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 22:35-38, the apostles were looking at their possessions and then looking back to Jesus, wondering if they had all they needed?

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals,did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.

Chapter 22 of Luke details The Last Supper. It was a poignant time of ministry from Jesus as he washed dirty apostle feet (John 13). He ministered, taught, conversed and they ate together as brothers. I’m sure they shared laughs, and they said dumb things too, like most of us do during social interactions (Luke 22:24). Jesus gave them their first communion and prophesied.  He prepared and warned them by telling them things to come. Since many of them left occupations that put food on their tables, Jesus asked them if they lacked anything during the first time they were separated from him, when the apostles were sent out on their first missionary journey (Luke 9). They answered “Nothing!” This should cause us to pause, to reflect on this scene described in scripture.

Did they lack anything?

Jesus told them he was getting ready to go away from them, and in their hearts they wondered about their own physical needs, didn’t they?  Why else would Jesus have asked them if they: “lacked anything”? he knew what they were thinking. Jesus often did this; he answered questions people around him had on their minds, like he knew. He knows what’s on our mind, doesn’t he?

Examples of entitlement?

The term entitlement has become more popular and is used to describe what was once called welfare benefits. On a national basis, they comprise 70% of our Federal budget for things like Social Security Disability, retirement, unemployment, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, Section 8 housing and Title 20 daycare. Some people are judged for their entitlement dependence.

What got me thinking about this was something that happened several months ago. During a small group discussion following watching a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class video. The members were describing various ways they’ve saved money on groceries. Several commented that they shop at Aldis. For those of you that don’t know, Aldi’s is not an upscale market. It’s a great place to save money on groceries, but it’s not as nice place to shop as regular mainline chains are. The people shopping there don’t look wealthy at all. However, one lady in the circle said, she’s been to college and has a good job, and shouldn’t have to shop a Aldi’s anymore.

The other day I was having a conversation with a young person with a modest income at church. He said that he only drinks beer that’s made in craft breweries. Those golden drops cost 8 – 16 dollars for a six-pack. He said he can’t even think about drinking down market brews like Budweiser. He said young people today have refined tastes for nicer things. This makes me proud of my relative who is happy with Pabst Blue Ribbon.

A few days after that, I was talking to an older man about some of these discussions, about how I was starting to believe that we’ve all developed some general sense of entitlement. He agreed that we all have some sense of entitlement, admitting that for things like housing, clothes, vehicles, and food, his standards are much higher now, compared to when he was younger and made less money. He said he felt entitled to certain things in his higher station of life. Yet, he confessed since he has worked hard he feels he is entitled to more. He’s re-thinking his point of view, since his belief that he is a temporary manager of God’s money and possessions, shouldn’t necessarily compute to more stuff for himself.

It’s a proven fact for most people, as we move along in our careers and make more money, our standard of living rises to the next level along with our incomes. People tell me that they feel they’re entitled to live a certain way because they’ve worked hard, come from a certain family, or graduated from college. In the world’s economy, this is totally acceptable, but to Jesus, is it?

The more we make, the higher our lifestyle floats up and we spend more money. I’ve always joked that we should be careful not to buy expensive wine, because your tongue will get used to better quality, and the $3.99 bottom shelf variety will leave you feeling discontented. Another common example is our automobiles. If you get used to driving nice cars with a smooth ride with rapid acceleration (for us car-guys) going down-market is almost painfully impossible.

There is a downside to upscale living. The more we spend, the less we save and invest, so we are much more susceptible to financial difficulty if we lose our job or face some other financial difficulty. Even worse, the more the average person spends on themselves, the less we have to be generous in tithing and giving to other charitable organizations.

Do you have enough?

The disciples showed Jesus their belongings, and he said with force; “That’s Enough!” (Luke 22:24). It is a very good question to ask Jesus. In your mind or on a piece of paper list the things you own, and what you spend for fun and leisure; then ask him if that is that enough?  Jesus should I live this lifestyle, or step up a level? Do you want me to scale down?

What God said to Baruch

What God provides is sufficient, he knows our needs and he knows our challenges. God has lately been reminding me of Baruch, Jeremiah’s secretary. It appears God warned Baruch “But as for you, you keep seeking great things for yourself. Do not keep on seeking.” We don’t know what they were, perhaps prominence, selfish ambitions, or material prosperity, but Baruch was “worn out with groaning and {could} find no rest.” Jeremiah 45:2-5.

*This Monday blog post is a chronological walk through of the four gospels, examining any verse that involves money and stewardship.  This is the sixty-third post in this series.

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Christmas and Stewardship

by Kent on December 17, 2014

A quick blog article to help you spend less and focus on Jesus this Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year and it’s only a week away. During this busy season of parties, shopping and eating, it’s easy to throw the budget out of the window. If you are like me at all, once you have made one mistake, then it’s the start of a multiple bad decisions. This especially applies to my eating. For example, I could really be closely watching what I eat, since my pant’s waist is getting pretty tight. However, during the Holidays, I’m surrounded by rich food wherever I go, it seems. So, just this once I’ll toss a goodie in my mouth. “Oh well, why not another one, the first one didn’t hurt, another one can’t matter that much,” and then on it goes, into a steady stream of sweets and rich food, that I don’t refuse myself to eat.

The same thing happens to me when I spend during the Holidays. More gifts, more eating out, I struggle with appearing generous or cheap. If I overspend a little here and there, then the floodgates open wider, and before you know it, I’ve totally blown my budget. What I do to avoid this is to discuss with my wife a budget amount we can afford for gifts, entertaining, fast food in-between busy activities, and any extras we want to gift ourself. We then purchase online to avoid impulse purchases, or go to the store with our lists, and buy only what is on them.

A scripture comes to mind that can give us strength to not over eat or over spend:

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:2-3

A friend of mine in her 70′s who has been serving Christ her whole life in signficant ways, reminded me of this verse. She said it was taught to her by her parent missionary organization early on, to help them manage a modest income. She said the verses’ key points were that our purchases can sometimes be categorized:  our desires to possess, indulge and impress. Modern western society celebrates these things, but God wants us to “live by faith, not by sight.” (Corinthians 5:7). Stewardship is a life based on Jesus, not many of the things we fill life with.

The Holidays can be enjoyed in the richness he blesses us, and giving him rich gratitude of that. Celebrating Jesus’ joy and hope, the wonderful people he has brought into your life, during this time of the extra abundance of his presence, is God’s plan. The verse from James mentioned we quarrel and fight, easy to do at family gatherings, but this year give the gift of joy and hope, faith and forgiveness to those surrounding you. Be generous in your giving of material gifts, celebrate with great food and parties, but stay within your boundaries. Spread the love he places in your heart, unconditionally to those around you, to friends, family, lonely, the poor and immigrant. Get strength from Jesus to resist the desires to possess, indulge and impress, but to bless instead.

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This weekend’s blog roll has links to 11 helpful articles covering everything from retirement and financial planning to eyeglass savings and mutual fund guru David Snowball.

On my other blog at eFinPLAN I posted the following articles within the past month. Typically on JesusMoney I post articles about God and Money, but at eFinPLAN I write about financial planning tips. I thought that may be of benefit to some of our readers here.

  • How to start planning for retirement, here we cover the 5 basics that people need to do
  • Hyundai and Kia Fined Again for Nearly $300M For Overstated Gas Mileage, impacting people’s personal finances, read how to obtain more accurate MPG before you buy
  • Expert Tips on Overcoming Financial Planning Barriers, read how to spot and overcome planning barriers
  • Why is the Luxottica Eyeglass Monopoly a Rip Off for Customers? Learn how to save money on this expensive item
  • What are the pros and cons of being rich? Check out the connection to wealth and happiness, and the middle sweet spot

Here are some other interesting articles from around the web that I’ve found that might be helpful to you: Links to full articles

  • Open enrollment for ACA Obamacare 11/15: If you didn’t sign up last time you can soon, already covered: renew/change
  • Retirees and real estate, decisions and planning implications, often overlooked but important
  • Financial planning data worth noting: Social Security benefit increase,
  • People on a tight budget, need to be careful buying upscale cars, this example is for $1,113 to repair bulb in high-tech head light
  • Is college still a good return-on-investment? Article discusses this and some new assessment tools being used
  • Mutual fund guru David Snowball, interviewed about index funds and mutual fund managers

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Quote on Living Within Your Means

November 10, 2014

“There is no dignity quite so impressive and no independence quite so important as living within your means. “ This is quite an unusual quote. Calvin Coolidge our 30th President, served in office right up until 1929 on the eve of the Great Depression, was quoted as saying this. Wow, to hold living within one’s […]

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Jesus Talking About Your Greatness

November 3, 2014

Do You Want to Be Great and Have Financial Greatness? This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 22:24-30, Jesus responded to the dispute that some of the apostles were having. They were arguing about who would be the greatest? A dispute also arose among them as to which […]

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Giving Thanks is at the Core of Stewardship

October 13, 2014

What does it mean to ‘Give Thanks’ and why is this important to stewardship? This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 22:14 – 19, when  Jesus served the wine and broke the bread, and gave thanks. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. […]

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A Story of Life Changes, Faith, Risk, Tithe and Blessings

October 7, 2014

Life can be interesting for many of us. It seems as if only a small percentage of people work for the same company until retirement, and then are set financially for the last chapter of life, living on a good company sponsored retirement plan. While many others of us, our careers and life is more like […]

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God Chooses to Bless Others Through You and Me

October 1, 2014

A few months ago, I asked people to email me testimonies about how God blessed them, or blessed others through them. Here is a great story, of something that happened during just a normal activity of life. I have been so blessed by God throughout my whole life, it  would take a book to tell […]

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Testimony of Financial Change Following D. Ramsey Class

August 26, 2014

For today’s Tuesday testimony, a Financial Peace University attendee’s demonstration of the change it brought to her. It sounds to me like she was liberated from money focus, and now wants to bless others. Heart and financial change working together.  The next Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University Class starts September 9th at Vineyard Columbus, and […]

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Jesus, Temporary Stuff & Heart Matters

August 25, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 21:5-6, Jesus is responding to the disciples asking if he was impressed with the church building that was constructed. I’ll never forget the first time we walked into the brand new building the church constructed in 1991. Moving out of an […]

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Gifts from Jesus Come in Many Forms

August 19, 2014

I love this Tuesday testimony, because it simply communicates Jesus’ heart of generosity and his intimate knowledge of us. He loves us, and knows and loves what makes us tick. Likewise, Jesus shows himself in many form to us throughout every day, and often it’s through the generosity of others. A large part of my […]

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Jesus and the Famous Generous Poor Widow

August 18, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 20:46-47 and 21:1 – 4, Jesus makes the central point of two teachings, about poor widows. Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and […]

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Two Tuesday Testimonies About God Providing Financially

August 12, 2014

Today, I have two testimonies about God providing. The first one comes from someone I have been doing some budget counseling with, and they are wonderful sweet people. I’m so very proud of their hard work and commitment. The husband just told me about the blessing they recently received. This is what I recall from […]

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Taking a Financial Class Was the Beginning of Transformational Faith

August 5, 2014

Tuesday Testimony, about how a great guy’s financial and faith life was totally transformed after he took Dave Ramsey Financial University at Vineyard Columbus. Our next class starts the 2nd Tuesday in September. For more information and sign-up click here. Here is my family’s story of great generosity from other believers through God’s power: After […]

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Jesus Loves Business, But…

August 4, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke. In Luke 19:45-46. We see Jesus rebuking people selling in church, yet in Luke 19:12-27, Jesus tells a parable that seems to have blessed the combination of responsible investing, hard work and stewardship- all elements of business ownership. I think Jesus loves capitalistic, entrepreneurs; […]

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Testimony About Giving, Faith and Worship

July 29, 2014

Putting money is the offering plate can be a difficult thing for many people to do. It isn’t easy to part with money, when we have so many needs and wants in life. Giving regularly often begins with letting go and trusting. Even if our hearts aren’t totally into it, God then often blesses us, […]

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Great Example of How We Are Blessed To Be a Blessing

July 22, 2014

Tuesday Testimony, from a friend. It is an amazing story about how he was blessed through the generosity of others and classes he took. God kept his life together, even though he feared it would fall apart, not only was his home blessed, he was able to bless people around the world, and the people […]

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The Joy of Hard Work, Luke 19:12-27

July 21, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 19:12-27, is about hard work. Modern society’s view of work, doesn’t always agree with scripture, so let’s see what the Bible has to say. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to […]

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Testi-money About God’s Generosity

July 16, 2014

A good friend of mine, sent me an email recently about giving, that I thought might be encouraging.  He has lived good stewardship, and gotten back on his feet financially, after deeply digging out from a failed business venture. “I was looking at our tithe last year and it was indeed 10% but given our […]

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Zacchaeus’ Walk With Jesus, from Greed to Purity

July 14, 2014

This week’s money and stewardship devotional from the four Gospels* is from Luke 19:8-9. In the preceding verses, we see Zacchaeus a tax collector, following Jesus, and immediately is compelled regarding his financial life. 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the […]

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