“You deserve.” I’m hearing it a lot lately. I don’t like the phrase. Frankly, it has been getting on my nerves. Why do I deserve? What do I deserve? Who do I deserve? When do I deserve? Where do I deserve? How do I deserve? I’m hearing that I “deserve” so many things. On websites, commercials, Facebook, more rights. And this is a huge part of our society today. I’ve observed the changes in society over my life. (going on 60) More people want, regardless of effort. And more people expect. As I have been hearing the word “deserve” it has struck me how wrong this is.
I look back to when my mom was a child. She really did have a very hard life. In that Era, they had to work hard to provide. My mom talked about the chores they did as they grew up. One of her most hated chores was to carry the chicken they bought, home. She was embarrassed. She knew they were poor. She felt the sting of that. Did that mean she didn’t have to do it anymore? No. We are so “rights oriented” that we think we “deserve” better treatment than that. And that transfers into our expectations for our kids. Most parents want to make life better for their children. The mistake we can make is to make it easier and not allow them to face the hardships. We need to be there to talk with them about the good and the bad times. But, not to let them get away with behavior that will lead to problems in their future. We need to give consequences. And that is different in every family.
Children actually thrive by when they have chores. When they are small, they can help pick up their toys. They feel a sense of accomplishment as they contribute. They need to feel involved in the community of being part of the family. This is something that stays with them, as they get older and can do more. They can see that they have helped another. As a parent, I wanted them to understand that they could work as being part of the family.
As I think about this, my mind goes back to the prodigal son. The word, “prodigal” means “a person who spends money in a recklessly extravagant way. In the parable that Jesus told, there were two sons. One left with his portion of the inheritance. He was wasteful with it. He used it all up and didn’t use it wisely. Things became difficult where he had wasted all of his inheritance. He had to work with the swine. Which were unclean animals in the Jewish culture. He recognized that his father’s hired hands ate better than he did. All he had left was to go back home. Did he deserve to go back home? No, he was foolish. When he returned, his father welcomed him. The son was willing to work as a hired servant. But his father welcomed him back as a son. “But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32 NIV
Now, I can say here that I understand that completely! My desire is to have a relationship with my children. His brother was angry. I can understand that too. He had been a faithful son. It’s very easy to think that I deserve more since I was faithful to the family. I know that I have the same amount of care, love, concerns, and desires to have a relationship with both of my children and their children.
So… WHAT DO I DESERVE??? A warm house? Food on the table? Should I waste my money and expect others to provide for me? No. I try to live responsibly. But that does not mean that I do this well all the time. I have been amazed at how much I can wander and God welcomes me back. He is good. He desires the best for us. He welcomes anyone who comes to him or returns to him as His own.