Over the last few weeks Anne and I have been reflecting on the observations Jesus made (in Mark 12:38-44) about the preening and prancing of the scribes… “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and to be greeted with respect in the market-places, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets! They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
The contrast is the widow who gives her all, ironically, to fund the preening and prancing scribes.
A sense of entitlement is prevalent in our society and has been picked up by the advertisers who keep telling us that we deserve things.
I wonder about the challenges this sense of deserving more and more presents for our society and world? It seems that we have developed an expectation that the world owes us a good living. If that means that a significant proportion of the world’s human population has to live with the smallest proportion of things in order to prop up our lifestyles – then so be it.
Coupled with this is a mentality that the earth owes us something and we are prepared to plunder and exploit its resources for maximum profit and, if we cause climate change and some of our poorer low-lying countries sink, well, that is just collateral damage!
In Psalm 24:1-2 it states: ‘The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for God has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.’
I wonder where we got the idea that the earth is ours and all that is in it?
That represents a major theological shift from the stated position in Psalm 24!
In this land of plenty it is challenging to counter the cultural forces that suggest that we deserve more and more.
Maybe a way to live in another framework is to cultivate gratitude for what we have rather than give into the cravings for more.
Brené Brown has some useful things to say on this including this quote:
“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”