I’m facing an uphill battle. As a teacher, I’m learning all about the evils of entitlement and what it may mean for the coming generations. Report cards came out at school a while back and one of my students wanted to know what he could do for extra credit to bring up his grade. He was promised a pretty nice reward from his parents if he maintained certain grades and he was mad at me for ruining his chance to claim his rightful reward.
I, like any teacher worth their salt, explained to him that his grade was a D because he earned it, that he had extra credit opportunities throughout the grading period he could have taken advantage of but he chose not to, and that he would need to accept responsibility for his own actions and study habits. In return, I received the eye roll and a whispered “Whatever!”
Now I should be fair and say that I teach fourth graders, so ten-year-olds still have a hard time accepting personal responsibility, but he still learned his entitlement somewhere. Why do many people feel like the world owes them something? When did we become a society who feels like it’s our right to get whatever we want? We can get into how this is a detriment in the social and political arenas, but I want to touch on how this attitude can hurt the church.
First off, it’s important to remember that God never promised to give his followers everything. John 10:10 has widely been used to teach that but that is a misinterpretation of that verse. In fact, all that God gives us is by grace through faith so no one can boast about how we deserve something (Ephesians 2:8-9). We can never feel entitled when it comes to God. We are best served having an attitude of contentment and to be good stewards of the gifts or blessings God has given us. God wants appreciative children, not spoiled ones.
Second is the entitlement we see in worship occasionally. Somehow, some Christians believe that the only church worth attending is the one that meets all of THEIR needs. It doesn’t dawn on some that we’re there to worship God, not for God to worship us. I know many pastors and elders that would love to shepherd a flock who wants to serve God instead of looking to be served all the time. And amazingly, all of our needs end up being met when we put Him first.
Every follower of Christ should seriously examine their heart. Do you have a heart of thanksgiving or a heart of entitlement? There is a big difference and it really matters to God.