It’s been interesting to recognize an example of entitlement in Audrey. (For a few postings, I’ve been writing about entitlement–check those first). I started giving her a bottle of water to put in her purse when she goes to the senior center each day (Mon-Thursday). She doesn’t drink much out of it, as there’s very little gone each day but it most likely gives her a sense of control–that she can have a drink whenever she wants rather than being dependent on the staff to provide it (which she says they don’t do).

But now every time before going, she wants to know where is her bottle? It has become her right and since she is paranoid, she is afraid we will deprive her. She feels she must demand it otherwise she won’t get it. She can’t trust in our goodness to provide it and/or she’s afraid we’ll forget.

She usually asks about it in her bedroom but it’s waiting for her in the refrigerator–and I give it to her on her way to the car. But between the time she asks for it in her bedroom and getting it at the refrigerator, she is suspicious and disgruntled to some degree. Plus, we never know if she has clearly heard us say it’s waiting for her (because of her bad hearing).

Oh, this so describes how we are given a gift of some goodness from the Lord. And we like it! It becomes a taste of life (and control) and we begin to depend upon it. And then we begin to fear we won’t have it. And then we demand it and can’t hear God’s assurance that He has it ready for us.

I relate. My “bottle of water” was my empty nest. We could travel and take a trip whenever we wanted. We could go out to dinner alone, etc etc.

My empty nest became my bottle of water and the Lord has put me back to being constricted taking care of an elderly person–which in effect, is like caring for a preschooler. And I want to be able to sip the water of empty nest any time I want!

What do you feel you are entitled to? What seems like a taste of life that you need? Or are counting on, expecting? What are you afraid God will not continue to provide? What if He said “drink from me only” instead?

I wonder how I would have responded if I had been Mary, the mother of Jesus, when the Magi gave her those 3 gifts: gold, incense and myrrh. If I had been Mary, I think I would have thought, “Yippee! Now, I can get that house on the hill, and that new robe I was looking at down at the square. And won’t baby Jesus’ look the cutest in that outfit I saw there? Oh, thank you, God, for these gifts.” Maybe I would even think, “Wow, obedience does have it’s entitlements.”

But then Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus must escape to Egypt. As they’re traveling along and must stop at an inn, Joseph says, “Mary, pull out that gold. We’ll need to use it for payment for the inn.”

“What? Don’t you have any cash? I thought I was going to use the gold for that new house on the hill.”

And so, throughout the trip, the gold, incense and myrrh were used up and when the three returned to Nazareth, it was all gone. If she had wanted to claim it for her own purposes, like I might have, she would have been sorely disappointed in God.

Instead of entitlement, which has the attitude that I get to choose what should happen and how my resources should be used, may we hold loosely that which God gives. For He may have purposes that we don’t yet know about. And in the meantime, that bottle of water is a gift, given out of goodness and love; not a right to be hoarded.