Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Is there a more prominent, powerful, and defeating agent in our culture today than entitlement? Its everywhere! And, its at the core of so many of the problems with our world today...

The biggest problem I have with entitlement is that it is running rampant in our churches. Don't worry, I struggle with it as much as the rest of you... otherwise, your entitlement wouldn't bug me so much.

We see it in churches when we struggle to find people to serve in ministries that have great need. We see it when there is a change in format, style, etc. We see it when things go well, and more so when things go poorly. Its the voice of complaint, followed by lack of action to fix that which drew the complainer to speak. Its the crossed arms of those who have "served their time" and are waiting on the fresh new blood to pick up the slack. Its the slacking fresh new blood that waits for the elder generation to get up and get back into service. Its the thinking that you just aren't getting anything out of Pastor X... then realizing that you haven't gotten anything out of the pastor of the last 8 churches you've "visited" without realizing that the common denominator is you. Its the complaining that the tempo is too slow, the drums are too loud... its the demands for more cowbell! tambourine!

We get so caught up in what the church owes to us for our faithful attendance and the privilege of our presence. We get mad because the staff doesn't shake our hand just right, or doesn't stand strongly behind whatever moral matter of the day is standing out. We throw our tantrums when our ideas are not given the attention we feel they deserve...

Its all of this and more... but ultimately, its forgetting that church is not about us...

A sermon I listened to recently drew out a commentary by DA Carson, looking into the scene playing out at the verdict of Jesus' trial, as seen through the eyes of Barabas (the criminal sentenced to death, but freed at the calling of the crowd)... He sat in his cell, listening to the crowd shouting "Crucify him! Crucify him!" knowing that they were calling for his own death... the steps approaching the door of his cell, the keys in the lock... knowing that he was about to walk to his death. But instead, when the jailer opened his mouth, it was ushering Barabas to his freedom. He would learn that his place of execution was taken by the innocent Jesus. The innocence of Jesus, confirmed by the cowardly Pilate, would be instead nailed to a cross to suffer the crucifixion that was Barabas' sentence. It was the death he had earned by the life he had lead.

Why are we so entitled? Have we, the saved and pardoned sinners, forgotten the death we had earned? Did we lose the inconceivable thought of hearing our granted freedom, when we were awaiting the wrath we deserved? Are we so wrapped up in our own time that we are unwilling to sacrifice the pleasures of now for the eternity of stored up treasure? What will it take for us to drop the entitled sense of what we deserve? We've already been given more than we deserve, all that is asked is that we accept it with thanksgiving and joy... the love that surpasses ALL understanding should compel us to the service of which each of us is called.

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