What Disney World Taught Me about Entitlement
November 15, 2017
On our family’s recent trip to Disney World …
… before I go any further, the answer is “yes” – I see the irony in starting a post about entitlement by citing a trip to Disney World …
… we decided to indulge in the “Disney Dining Plan.” For those unfamiliar with the Disney experience, that means we paid a flat amount up front in exchange for a number of meal credits.
Each time we got a meal, our receipt documented the number of meals remaining on our plan. The bottom of the receipt read, “Number of entitlements remaining:” and then the number of meals left on our dining plan.
These receipts came to mind as I was preparing to preach on “Entitlement” as an Enemy of Generosity.
There is an important difference between an entitlement, and a sense of feeling entitled.
When one pays the price, one is entitled to the benefit of that purchase. Our purchase entitled us to the number of meals included in the dining plan. In addition, everyone in our party received a refillable (souvenir!) mug that could be filled at certain soda machines.
The mugs are actually equipped with a microchip that communicates with the soda dispenser. As Disney thinks of EVERYTHING, soda refills are timed … you have to wait two minutes between fills. I only discovered this when I encountered a woman who was distraught by the fact that she couldn’t fill her mug, pour it into a larger cup, then immediately go back for more. I overheard her mutter in frustration, “I guess they’re going to get their money somehow.”
I chuckled, because it struck me as funny that in the grand scheme of all things Disney (and the expense that comes with it) waiting two minutes to refill your soda is probably pretty low on the list of how Disney makes money.
I am guessing that her frustration came from the kind of entitlement that we all wrestle with from time to time. We believe that we deserve to have it all … right now!
This sense of entitlement can creep into our relationship with God. We begin to believe that God owes us something instead of believing that God has graciously given us everything. The problem is that this mindset focuses on us first, keeping us from focusing outward, on our neighbors and their needs, as God intends.
Luther said that sin is “love turned in on itself” – a truth on full display when entitlement grabs hold of our hearts. Instead, God calls us to share love with others – and our practice of generosity is one way that we live this faith.
Below, find a few verses to contemplate when battling that feeling of entitlement, that we might be reminded of God’s generosity. These are great for your daily devotions or Faith 5 time this week.