PROMISE -or- ENTITLEMENT?

I SAMUEL 2:17-18 “Thus the sin of the young men was very great before ADONAI, for the men despised the offering of ADONAI. But Samuel was ministering before ADONAI, as a boy girded with a linen ephod.” TLV

OBSERVATION: Am I living my life like a son of privilege, or like a son of promise? One looks at life as an entitlement, the other as a gift and stewardship. There is a fine line between the two. The contrast of Eli’s sons and Samuel is a good example of the pitfalls of privilege and the power of promise.

Privilege focuses on one’s rights. It feels entitled to things without earning them. Privilege is often heard saying – “I deserve that!” We live in a culture of privilege. We feel entitled to things from our parents, our government, and even God. We take pride in our heritage and in our position in life. When we don’t receive something we cry out that it is not fair. Entitlement expects without any effort, and lacks appreciation when something is received. Eli’s sons were born into the privilege of the priesthood and they abused their position for their own personal gain.

Promise recognizes that what we have received is a gift from God. It was not earned, nor was it deserved. It was given freely and fully out of the grace and mercy of God. Therefore, with promise comes a sense of gratitude and stewardship. What is received is not taken for granted. It is truly appreciated, and it is both cared for and fully employed. And, since it was born of promise, it is never hoarded, but freely shared with others. Generosity is the cousin of promise. Samuel was born of promise to a woman who could not bare children. He was dedicated to the Lord’s service, and he served at the Sanctuary, not out of lineage or privilege, but out of promise.

How do we view our Christian life? Do we view it as a life of privilege or a life of promise? Many take a false comfort in their membership and position in a church, their level of education, or their family’s position and heritage. Yet, in the church, we are all born again of promise. None of us are children of God through privilege.

  • “But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. They were born not of a bloodline, nor of human desire, nor of man’s will, but of God.” John‬ ‭1:12-13‬ ‭TLV‬‬
  • “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all”. Romans‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We are all children of promise. We are all children of faith. As the Apostle Paul proclaimed, there is nothing we have that we have that we not received as a gift from God through promise. If we have received it through promise, where then is the right to boast about it? And if we have received it through promise, where then is the right to feel entitled? The only response that we should have to the wonderful things that God has given us is gratitude and stewardship!

Gratitude gives thanks to the Lord for all things. Stewardship views all that has been given as a sacred trust to be used wisely and for the glory of the Lord. Everything that we have, even the air we breathe, is a gift of promise. We delude ourselves when we fall into privilege. We rob ourselves of the true joy of life when we feel that we are entitled.

A life of promise leads to honesty, integrity, hard work, and true joy. This is what we need once again in our lives, in our churches, and in our nation!

Lord, forgive me for the times when I have felt entitled and have failed to give You thanks. Help me to start this day by embracing Your promise and responding with gratitude and stewardship. May I use my time, my talents, and my possessions as a wise steward, and in such a way that it brings You glory, and helps to build up the Your Kingdom. Like Samuel, help me to fully employ all that You have given me, in faithful service and stewardship, as a child of promise.

In Jesus Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy to follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com. Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to rcoutreach@aol.com and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
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