I’m Entitled. Yeah, Right.

When I was a child I incessantly asked my father for an allowance. I thought I deserved one for going to school, doing things around the house and being a decent kid. I think he had enough of my pleas as this is how he responded to my inquiries. He said, “Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have clothes on your back? Do you have food in our mouth?” That is your allowance! At first, I didn’t appreciate his answer as a few of my other friends were receiving some “cash on the side.” But as I got older his reasoning made so much sense. Why should I receive something extra for things I was supposed to be doing in the first place? Why did I think that I should be entitled to even more, especially since I wasn’t doing anything extra ordinary?

The word entitlement means “having a right, expecting special treatment.” I know it’s easy to blame the younger generations for being spoiled and entitled, but is it any different when an older person demands privileges because of age or believes that they have the right to express whatever rolls off their tongues? An entitlement attitude is centered solely on self. The sense that “it’s all about me,” “and I deserve whatever I want.” If left unchecked this proclivity to entitlement can cause control issues, isolationism, loneliness, and anger.

Another opposite of entitlement is need. Rather than thinking that we always deserve, there must be an understanding that we can’t do everything ourselves. I realize that self-reliant individuals don’t want to admit that assistance is sometimes essential, but that’s exactly the case. Whether we need help in our relationships, help with education/training, help with our health or help with loved ones, the need is there. In a spiritual way our greatest need includes the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of life forever. And that has been provided through God’s grace in the shed blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

One extremely cold night, as I was driving down an ice-covered road in rural Upstate New York, I literally couldn’t tell the edge of the road from the snow filled ditch. Not exactly knowing where I was driving, I got stuck in the ditch.

Since these were the days before cell phones I decided to start walking to the closest house with a poll light. But just before I started out I saw other lights slowly coming down Rock Road. As the vehicle inched closer I couldn’t believe my eyes.

It was my neighbor Aaron with his tractor. He was plowing drive ways and just happened to come upon me in my time of need. He kindly pulled me out as I slowly made my way home. Yes, there are needs that we ourselves cannot fix, but we have a God who promises to give us strength and assistance to deal with these challenges.

In a world where some think that they should always get a trophy or are entitled and deserving of certain things, all it does is to weaken resolve, respect, and responsibility. Instead of demanding entitlement, may we humble ourselves in service and need. Let us be grateful for the thing that we certainly don’t deserve be we still freely receive. God’s never-ending love in Jesus!

Humanity was not created by the living God to focus on self. We were literally created in God’s image to serve, and to have a relationship with the one who can help and save us. In the Gospel of Mark 10:45 Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus the “King of Kings” and the “Lord of Lords” didn’t expect others to serve him, but he was willing to sacrificially give his own life to serve the world. Instead of our self-focus, can you imagine what our community would look like if we took the time to connect with our neighbors, show kindness/generosity to the needy, and intentionally encourage others who are down? We were fearfully and wonderfully made to serve, not to be self-absorbed.