January 26, 2024

“It’s All About Jesus!”
Luke 15 (The Parables of the Lost)
“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’ – Luke 15:28-30 (NLT)
“The Entitlement Epidemic”
Several years ago, when I was pastoring a church plant, we were meeting in a hotel. When the day came that we were finally able to buy an existing church building from a church that had closed, we were excited. No more setting up chairs and all the other chores that come with using rented facilities. What we didn’t think about, however, was all the upkeep (mowing, maintenance, cleaning, repairs) that comes with being an owner. One day as I had been praying and thinking about someone to oversee all that, I felt as if God laid a person on my heart. He was a member of our church who had several rental properties and knew what it took. I approached him with the idea one day in his front yard after work. I’ll never forget his response. He took off his hat, held it to his chest, and said, “Pastor Steve, I’d count it a privilege to serve the church this way.”
Lock in on that word that he used. “Privilege.” My friend’s attitude is so rare among people today. We live in an age of entitlement. Somewhere along the way we’ve gotten the idea that we are OWED. Our parents owe us. The Government owes us. The church owes us. God owes us. It’s the attitude that we exist to be served, not to contribute. We have “rights,” not privileges. The older brother expresses this rather blatantly when he tells his father, “I’ve slaved for you.” Really? You got a warm bed, plenty to eat, clothes to wear, money to spend, and an eventual inheritance of owning it ALL. Yet, instead of seeing your work as a privilege to contribute to the homestead, you’re “slaving.” That’s the sad picture of entitlement.
Entitlement is a dreadful attitudinal disease. It robs us of the joy of giving. It robs us of the sacredness of sonship. It robs us of what it means to be grateful. Moreover, it robs us of the heart of Jesus. He didn’t come to be served, “but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” He didn’t come to be pampered, but to humbly pick up the basin and towel to wash feet. Jesus didn’t come to demand His rights. In fact, He gave up His rights in order to pay the price for our wrongs! Don’t let entitlement creep into your walk with God. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and a deep sense of appreciation. And every chance you get, serve God and His Church with a heart of joy. It’s a privilege. That’s God’s Word for you today.

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