Asking for a handoutDoesn’t it seem like our whole society has devolved  into this: what’s in it for me?

That’s the impression I sometimes have, based on incidents like these:

Food pantries are intended to help low-income people. Some accept only the food items they know they will use, while others take it all, whether they can use it or not. More than one person has actually said, “I want everything I’m entitled to.”

A government program provides financial assistance to major disaster victims who have little or no resources. Yet a few people apply for aid to remove debris from their yard, even when they clearly don’t meet the financial guidelines. And some, who may actually need help, want more. One woman, whose home was in the path of several hurricanes and floods, bragged, “The government has bought that same refrigerator three times.”

Everyone seems to want a handout. Even our voting decisions are often based on what the candidates promise to do for “me,” not what is best for “the people.”

Certainly, we should help those in need. As Christians, our love for others and for Christ give us more reason to serve, since He told His followers: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40, ESV). If we are the body of Christ, we should be the ones providing assistance, not the government.

But when I hear or see someone trying to get something for nothing or demanding “justice,” I can’t help but think of something else the Bible teaches: “Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars” (James 1:17, GW).

God owns it all, and everything we receive is a gift of God. We don’t deserve any of it, but “Christ died for us while we were still sinners. This demonstrates God’s love for us” (Romans 5:8, GW).

So what are you entitled to? What am I entitled to? Absolutely nothing.

And yet, we have been given the greatest gift: life, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Let’s not take advantage of that gift, but share it with the world around us.