Sense of entitlement – The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace. from “20 Things to Give Up for Lent”, Pastor Phil, Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, March 4, 2014
A fact about Entitlement:
It is a relatively new word; the first known use of this word was in 1942.
The full definition says a lot:
a. the state or condition of being entitled
b. a right to benefits especially by law or contract
c. a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group and the funds supporting the program
d. belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges by reason of birth, family, accomplishments, need or (my words not the dictionary) just because I think I deserve special privileges because I think I do.
While there may be pro and con arguments regarding a-c of the definition, I treasure the rights I have as a citizen of the United States based on the Constitution and I believe that human rights should be defended throughout the world. So here during this Lent season, as I consider the Word of God in Philippians, I know that I must dig out the weeds of vanity, selfish ambition, concern for my own interests which lead to a sense of ENTITLEMENT and I must seek to have the same attitude that Jesus did. I am always moved by these words:
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose.
Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.
Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well.
You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but
emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.
He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11 NET)
Even though Jesus existed as fully God, he did not demand EQUALITY. HE gave it ALL up, all the privileges of BEING GOD, took on the form of a slave, human form with all its fleshly needs, all its mental anguish, its heartaches, its fragility.
HE Humbled Himself…and was obedient to the death…death on the most horrific form of execution Crucifixion.
So, giving up Entitlement means that I must take on an attitude that does not demand to be First, or maybe even equal. It means that I need to be concerned for the needs of others and be faithful to carrying my Cross daily without comparing it to anyone else’s.
After all, in Jesus heart He always knew Who he was…He was One with the Father and One with the Spirit. And by His Blood, by my belief, and baptism I am an heir of God.