Entitlement and Gratitude

Entitlement, ingratitude, thanklessness…age old, insidious, and destructive. Like an aggressive cancer this wretchedness swallows and devours.  A parasite, it threatens to consume all joy and wonder. Restrictive, it squeezes and narrows the expansive gift of life. Utilitarian, it turns life into one big transaction to benefit self. Indifferent, it looks past gift and sees merit.

At heart, this is a way of being that pulls all things into self. It is a posture that demands the world orbit about “me.” Internal and external thrashing ensues when demands are not met, when the universe fails to obey. As Luther declared, this sickness originated at the fall when man “curved in on himself.” Once Adam recognized his nakedness he became obsessed with clothing himself.

Gratitude has been unnatural ever since. It is a forgotten dimension of our humanity. What was once second nature is now dependent upon grace. It is gospel grace that now produces gratitude. Gratitude makes life expansive, rich, and exciting. Many have grasped this reality. Here are a few examples.

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” -G.K. Chesterton

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” –G.K. Chesterton

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” -Karl Barth

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” –Marcus Cicer

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” –Epictetus

“‘Enough’ is a feast.” –Unknown

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Gratitude also opens your eyes to the limitless potential of the universe, while dissatisfaction closes your eyes to it.” –Stephen Richards

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”   –Aldous Huxley

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