Religion Today: The Banana Peel of Entitlement
Guest Writer Spotlight: Richard Lewis
My wife Sue and I were in a grocery store picking up a few food items for entertaining. The woman before us in line had a number of items in her cart and had put these on the conveyer belt to be rung up. She also had an empty banana peel that she tossed over on the counter. There was no longer any banana left inside the peel. She had obviously eaten that while she was shopping and was openly letting the checker know the banana was long gone.
Of course, the checker had no idea how much the banana weighed to be able to ring it up and so she just rolled her eyes and sent the lady on her way with a free banana in her tummy. When it was our turn to pay we said something like “That was weird” and the checker revealed that stuff like that happens all the time where people will eat food while shopping and not pay for it, thinking that is somehow OK. Of course, this is actually stealing and one must wonder how the hungry shopper justified this in her own mind.
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I think that there is one word that explains a prevailing attitude of today: Entitlement. People think they are entitled to steal from businesses, individuals or from the government. People feel entitled to break off relationships because they were offended by something that was said or done. People split up marriages and leave the lives of their children in shambles because, “After all, aren’t I entitled to be happy?”
We watch TV and listen to the radio and we regularly hear advertisers telling us “We deserve” this and that. We may begin to think that “I do deserve better. I deserve more. I’m not getting my fair share.” Is it any wonder that we can develop flawed thinking after being bombarded with all these messages!
Entitlement is the polar opposite of Thanksgiving, which is God’s directive for a joyous life. We can’t be thankful and entitled at the same time. These are like oil and water. There is a further danger when we take our spirit of entitlement over into our spiritual lives. Instead of saying, “I deserve better” we say instead, “I deserve better from God.”
This is a slippery, banana peel covered slope when we believe God owes us something or that God is a Genie who grants health and wealth to all who ask.
Paul expounds about contentment in Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul possessed neither health nor wealth. Few people have suffered in their life like Paul had and yet he had found to secret of contentment. Paul points to Jesus as the source of strength to live this contented life in the midst of need, trials or difficulties.
Paul reminds us in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
This verse gives us clear direction on what God’s will is for us: Rejoicing, praying and being thankful. If we follow that simple sequence we will displace the spirit of Entitlement in our lives and replace it with the sweet spirit of satisfaction and contentment.
What a great goal for 2021 – The pursuit of God’s gift of contentment.
Richard Lewis is a graduate of Arizona State University (Advertising) and California Baptist University (Computer Information Systems). Richard and his wife Sue met while they served as staff members at Campus Crusade for Christ for 8 years in the 1970’s. Richard served in the Campus Ministry at University of Texas at El Paso, Louisiana Tech and at the International Headquarters in San Bernardino, California.
Following their ministry in Campus Crusade Richard was the owner and manager of a bicycle shop in Riverside California for 19 years. After retraining in the computer field at California Baptist University, Richard worked as a Information Systems contractor and employee at Boeing for 17 years. Richard has written over 150 published articles in Information Systems and Computing publications including Windows Magazine and Windows Scripting Solutions. Richard has served in a leadership role as a Deacon and Elder in several churches as well as being a meditation presenter and Men’s Ministry coordinator.
Richard has written hundreds of meditations and devotionals that have been used in church and small group meetings. Many of these have been published in The Upper Room and Racers For Christ publications and on their web sites.
In 2021 Richard published a collection of his devotionals. These are available in a Kindle and paperback format on Amazon (ISBN 979-8705738878) “Life Stories to Uplift and Encourage”.
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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).
Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.