Sunday, August 29, 2010

Entitlement? What's that?

Last week, in a bible study that I've been attending, we discussed the topic of tolerance and fairness. We mentioned that, as Christians, we can be tolerant of other religions and still maintain the belief that Jesus is the only way to God. The argument of, "that's not fair" was then brought to mind. At that point in the conversation, I kinda butted in and said, "grace isn't fair." As Christians it isn't fair that we get freedom from sin, it isn't fair that we have a way out of darkness. The Christian life as we know it isn't fair. What would be fair is that we would spend eternity separated from God due to our sin. But God in His mercy sent His Son to die on a cross so we didn't have to.

And yet...
Humans, even Christians, sometimes fall victim to the idea of entitlement. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean by this is the feeling that says that because of something I've done or an attribute or characteristic that I have, I deserve or am entitled to a reward, item, object, or something else that is desirable.

Hear me on this: nothing could be further from the truth.

The food you eat: that's a gift.
Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness may be written down as a right in The Declaration of Independence, but no, my friend, you are not entitled to it. It's a gift.
The job you have, as miserable or wonderful as it may be, is a gift.
Your family is a gift.
That iPod you saved up for is a gift.
The money you worked for is a gift. You worked for it, but it is not entitled to you. God owns it.
Your teachers or professors, they are gifts.
Your intelligence is a gift. (Don't waste it!)
Your significant other is not entitled to you. Sure, there's that marriage license, but he or she is a gift!
And one last one: The very breath you are breathing, the breath that gives you life, is a gift.

You see, friends, God demands payment for sin because He and sin don't go together. We are sinners. All have sinned and fallen short. In order for justice to be served, a payment had to be made and our lives were the price. But God, in His mercy, made the ultimate sacrifice by doing the unthinkable, sacrificing His son, in payment for us. But it did not end there for 3 days later Christ was risen and we have the privilege, not the right, to share in His resurrected life if we believe on the name that is above every other, the name of Jesus.

We can not and should not fool ourselves into thinking that we deserve something. Instead, we should lift our eyes to the heavens and thank God for the mercy and blessings He has shown.

We are entitled to nothing. We have been given more than we deserve. So instead of saying, "That's not fair." Let's change our attitude and say, "Thank you for what I've been given."

And when we live a life glorifying the God who gave it all, God rewards us with joy, peace, and true life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time with the Cooley clan.

This past Saturday I went to Richmond to see my mom's side of the family and to celebrate my uncle Matt's 40th birthday. It was a lot of fun. We had steak and chicken and green beans and mushrooms for dinner. It was delicious. Also, Baggo (also known as cornhole) is a tradition whenever we get together. I didn't have time to play a full game, though.

All 3 of my Mom's brothers were there along with all of their children, which just so happens to be all girls, which makes myself and my brother a little out-numbered. There's 5 of them and 2 of us. This would normally be fine because I've known my cousins all there life, enjoy their company and love them.

There was just one thing that really bugged me that Saturday evening.

They all ganged up on me, yes all 5 of them, and asked why I was still single. Granted, they have somewhat of a point. Yes, I am 26 and still single, but I'm quite happy with my life and enjoy what I do. I have a great job, go to a great church, get out and have fun, have friends, etc. Of course, there's no reasoning with these girls. I think it's partly cuz they want another girl in the family.

In all honesty, I still love my cousins and I know they only want the best for me. I just find it quite humorous that they think I can't be happy if I'm single, which is so far from the truth. I wanted to say to them, "Jesus was single," but I knew that wouldn't do much good.

All this to say, I am waiting for whoever God has in store for me and preparing myself to be the kind of man God wants me to be for her.

Special note to my cousins: I still love ya.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things I learned from vacation 2010

Things I learned from vacation:

Chicago is beyond awesome.
Signs is a contagious game.
People over the age of 25 fall asleep more easily during late night movies.
The closer you are to your friends, the smaller your space bubble is.
Kayaking in shallow water alone is not a good idea.
Searching for a public library in Indiana is like playing the Water Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Sunflowers are a lot bigger when you see them in person.
Indian food and wine goes together.
The Tides aren't any better playing away from home, but I cheer for them anyway.
Wrigley Field was built in 1914.
Hercule Poirot and Britney Spears' music makes a hilarious combination.
A car traveling from Lafayette to Chicago or vice versa is a time machine. (thanks to time zones)
I don't want Ignatius the Ultimate Youth Pastor anywhere near my church.
It takes an hour or more to get Chicago's deep dish pizza. Is it worth it? OH YEAH!
Virginia should import Indiana's night sky.
Time with people you love is priceless.