Entitled | Mistreated
Monday— So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Genesis 12:4
Notice anything wrong with this verse? Look again. Who had God called to go to a distant land? Abram. Was Lot called also? No. He just tagged along. It usually spells trouble when we tag along on someone else’s calling instead of pursuing our own. We don’t know much about Lot, but it appears he was in it for himself. He wanted the best pastureland, the most exciting cities, and any lucrative deals Uncle Abe had going with God. He was a moocher. He didn’t care whether He heard from God himself; he was content to get it secondhand from his uncle. And Abram was apparently a pushover because he let it happen.
When God made the startling announcement to Abram that He was going to build a great nation and give his offspring a bountiful land, Lot was nowhere around. Yahweh had plucked Abram from obscurity and chosen to make a covenant with him. Then He watched to see whether Abram would believe Him and obey. He did—but Abe brought along some baggage that would prove to be an unwise addition. Lot and company were the source of a million headaches from then on. Sometimes we face mistreatment because of unwise additions to God’s plan. We let the druggie brother move in. We said yes when we should have said no. We enabled the moocher. God expects us to obey everything He says—without unwise additions.
Final Thought: How much of the mistreatment you’ve suffered was due to your making unwise additions to God’s plan?
Prayer: Father, as I look back, I caused some of the mistreatment I’ve suffered. If I’d stuck to what you called me to do, it wouldn’t have happened. Help me to do every single thing you tell me—without adding my own ideas. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— The land could not support them while they stayed together… and quarrels arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. Genesis 13:6-7
“When are you getting this house picked up?” George shouted into the kitchen where his cousin Wynn was scrubbing the dinner dishes. “I’ve lived here six months and I ain’t never once seen you vacuum or dust. This place is filthy. I’m thinkin’ about leavin’,” he said and picked up the remote. “You don’t even got Netflix,” he grumbled as he settled on Wynn’s sofa. Wynn appeared in the doorway. “I’m sorry. Yeah, I can’t afford it. Have you, uh, had any luck job hunting?” he asked. George frowned. “I want a desk job and all I been offered is grunt work. My back and all… Hey, would you get me a beer?”
Lot may not have been as obnoxious as George, but his situation was similar. He’d followed his uncle who was following God and then tried to take over. This was Abram’s land, not Lot’s. Abram’s call, not Lot’s. But they had the tail wagging the dog. Lot didn’t seem to remember that he was the guest, the interloper. He should have bowed out the moment he saw that he had outstayed his welcome. But the Georges of the world never catch on. Abram was incredibly gracious to his nephew and offered him any portion of land he wanted. That was a smart move because while Lot followed his greed, Abram followed his God. Lot thought he’d gotten the better deal, never realizing that history would forever pair his name with that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Final Thought: Avoiding mistreatment is often a matter of setting appropriate boundaries with moochers and the entitled.
Prayer: Father, do I let people take advantage of my generosity because I’m afraid to speak up? I want to be generous, want to be kind and selfless, but letting people run all over me is not good for either of us. Help me set good boundaries. Amen.
Wednesday— They also captured Lot—Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom—and carried off everything he owned… Abram recovered all the goods that had been taken, and he brought back his nephew Lot… Genesis 14:12,16
You drove to the bus station to get her. Again. You loaned him the spare room because he said this time was different. Again. You gave them rent money, paid their utility bills, babysat their kids, loaned them your car. Again. When does it end? Have you noticed that no matter how much you give, ungrateful people are never satisfied? They drain you dry and then move on to the next victim. You expend a tremendous amount of time and energy running around after them—and they’re no better for it.
Abram may have felt that way about his nephew. Every time he turned around, Lot was in trouble. We can only speculate about the reasons Abram kept bailing out his nephew, but let’s consider some of ours: False guilt causes us to ignore healthy boundaries with ungrateful family members. Over-sensitivity thinks it knows how Mollie Moocher feels, but she is not us. Insecurity makes a doormat out of us when we believe we NEED this person to like us. But they drain us dry and are no better for it. When we’re mistreated by ungrateful people, it’s okay to give ourselves permission to say “No more.”
Final Thought: “Help” gives someone a boost so they can fly on their own. “Enabling” keeps them trapped in ungratefulness.
Prayer: Father, help me learn the difference between helping and enabling. It’s not healthy for people to live in ungratefulness, draining others dry and getting no better themselves. Help me not be a part of enabling anyone’s sin. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thursday— Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?” Luke 17:17-18
One out of ten. One out of ten healed men also had healed hearts. That’s close to the percentage of biblical Christians vs. name-only Christians. A 2015 Barna poll revealed that of the 70% of Americans who identify as “Christian,” only 6-9% actually hold a biblical worldview. A worldview is the way we see life and our place in it. Our worldview is influenced by what we allow into our lives. Most professing “Christians” are more influenced by celebrities, culture, and friends’ opinions than they are by the Bible. They may pray on occasion, attend church if there’s nothing else going on, and at one time may have been dunked in water which they assume was baptism. But was it? Baptism only counts if it reflects a change of ownership.
This leper was an outcast in every respect, but he saw Jesus for who He was and praised God for his healing. He understood that his new freedom was a priceless gift from God and he couldn’t wait to show his gratitude. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we’ve been given a new freedom. A priceless gift from God. We show our gratitude by changing worldviews. Whereas we once consulted Dr. Phil, CNN, or our horoscope, we now turn to God’s word to direct our values and beliefs. Without God’s word, how do we know who God is? We may think we’re worshiping God, but which God is it? Which Jesus is it? We show gratitude to God by receiving the Bible’s Jesus as Lord and aligning our lives with His word.
Final Thought: Are you the one out of ten who expresses your gratitude to Jesus by aligning your life to His word?
Prayer: Lord, would I have come back to thank you? Or would I have been so excited about my new freedom that I would have left you in the dust? I want to be in the 6-9% with a biblical worldview. I submit myself now to your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Friday— One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan. Luke 17:15-16
“Oooooh! I love my new car!” squealed Madison. “I’m going to look so cool in this!” She flashed $4000 worth of orthodontia at her parents as she slid into the driver’s seat. “I’ll be at Trey’s,” she called and started the engine. “I might stay the night. He’s having a party.” And with that, the twenty-five-year-old roared down the street. Dad looked at Mom. “She couldn’t even say ‘Thank you’?” he murmured. “We’ve paid her rent, bought her groceries, and let her move back in when she got evicted. And what’s that about sleeping with Trey?” Mom nodded. “I know. And money will make her worse. It’s time to change our will.”
Is that how God feels about us? Ten lepers were healed, but only one thanked the Healer. We’re not told this, but it’s fair to assume that this man continued in gratefulness. Living with a grateful heart means we always have one ear tuned to the voice of God. We have one eye on His commands, eager to obey them as a way of showing how grateful we are. We hold wealth, possessions, health, and our dreams with loose hands, knowing we’ve surrendered it all to Him. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we’ve been, when Jesus saves us, He expects us to live with healed hearts. God’s stated will is that every human being comes to know and obey Him and look forward to heaven. But when we refuse His generosity, He changes His will.
Final Thought: Do your lifestyle choices indicate your gratitude that Jesus saved you or do you live entitled?
Prayer: Lord, I need to be sure where I stand with you. Am I living in a way that honors your generous gifts to me? Do I live with a grateful heart? May all my choices reflect my thankfulness that you saved me and restored me. In Jesus’ name, amen.