Gimme! Gimme!

It’s back to school time and, in many areas, that means back to school school supply drives from Operation Homefront and other organizations that support military families. As military families, we’re so blessed to participate in back to school drives and holiday events. We’re fortunate to get free admission to museums during the summer and head to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, or Sesame Place for free during the summer. We get money off meals, discounted movie tickets, and 10% off at many major retailers who offer a military discount.

Unfortunately, instead of feeling thankful, many wives take advantage of this extension of goodwill. You know you’ve seen it at the Operation Homefront events where families try to sneak one of each of the good toys instead of following the “one per child” policy. Some even complain when a particular business doesn’t offer a military discount, as if not offering one fails to show proper respect for the military. After all, our spouses put their lives on the line to protect our country while we proudly hold down the fort at home. We deserve a military discount, right?

Wrong.

In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus talks about the ten lepers. After he cleansed them, only one of the ten came back to say thank you. The others went on their way, likely feeling as though Jesus was a man who performed miracles and, therefore, they were entitled to the miracle. No need to say thanks.

Often, rather than being thankful, we’re often like the nine lepers who went on their merry way. Thom Rainer, the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources says, “If I feel entitled, I complain about my job. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have a job. If I feel entitled, I complain about the meal, I’m eating. If I am thankful, I am grateful to have food on the table.”  His list continues, clearly defining the difference between entitlement and thankfulness.

What would a similar list look like for the military wife?

If I feel entitled, I complain about the lack of a military discount.
If I am thankful, I take time to thank the companies who generously offer one to me.

If I feel entitled, I hoard free items at annual back to school and Christmas events.
If I am thankful, I take what I need, being sure to leave plenty for others.

If I feel entitled, I cause a nuisance and make excessive demands on those providing a free service.
If I am thankful, I embrace the opportunity and tell those involved how grateful I am.

Do any of those describe you? Do you find yourself feeling more entitled than thankful when you’re given free things or discounts just for being a military wife?

There’s nothing wrong with these freebies and discounts. There’s not even anything wrong with looking forward to them. However, we must be sure to approach them with the right attitude – an attitude of thankfulness.

James 1:17 reminds us that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Colossians 3:15 gives us a simple command, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Be thankful. Say thank you to those offering freebies and discounts. Take time to write thank you notes or send pictures to organizations like Operation Homefront, the American Legion, and others who provide freebies and events for military families. We’re not entitled to it. They don’t have to do it, but we’re so thankful that they do.

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