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How To Be Entitled (Or Not)

We see it emerge all the time in our  students.  They “forgot” to turn in their camp permission slip on time, and we “just have to” let them come anyway. There is a conflict between the Saturday mission trip fundraiser and a game for the sport they play. We “need” to change the date of the fundraiser. After all we ARE the ones that required them to be at said fundraiser in order to go on said trip in the first place.

Perhaps it comes out in the everyday interactions with our students.They sort of barrel through life with a “you owe” me attitude.

Honestly, I see the same “issues” in my own heart.

I am selfish. I think I deserve:

  • A cup of hot coffee on a bad day.
  • A parking space up front when I am running late.
  • An “easier” life because I “chose” ministry as my job.

Something needed to change for the cycle of selfishness to end. While whining about the apathy of the next generation I wonder if I have fed it? So many (including me) believe that this mentality of “entitlement” is what makes this generation ineffective.

Where do we begin?

1. Change Our Vocabulary:

I used to talk about sacrifice and “giving up.” That makes me feel good about all that I am doing. Instead, I started implementing the word “choice.” It used to drive me insane when I would “share” my defeats in ministry only to hear, “That’s the life you chose.” “Well, yes,” I would say, “It doesn’t make it easy.”

Here’s the thing. I did make the choice to follow the Lord down this path.That means there are consequences like trials…and blessings…but it was a choice. Let’s remind our teens the beauty in the choice to follow the Lord.

We need to teach students to ask, “How do we love others like ourselves? What does that mean?” Measuring what we say and how we say it makes us think about why we talk the way we do.

2. Change Our Thinking:

This is a hard one. This one is about constantly refocusing our thoughts on the Lord. We must understand that we merit eternal separation from God. There is nothing we are “owed.” Not a thriving ministry (whatever that even really means.) Not family members walking with the Lord. Not a great salary. Now, the Lord may give me some of these things as blessings. He has promised grace and mercy. However, it’s more like a gift on some random day of the week than Christmas morning. The presents will come, but not because they are “supposed” to. He loves us so desperately and wonderfully that He WANTS to be faithful to us. Remove the words, “deserve, owed, earned” out of your mind and mouth. Changing our perspective, gives us different Christ-centric world view, and helps us to encourage students to do the same.

3. Change Our Teaching:

Yes we need to set up places for our kids to serve. In my own children they thrive on outreach days when they can “help.” Later that evening we will return home where they fight with their siblings over touching “their stuff.” Just because they gave up an afternoon, does not make them give up themselves. Our teaching needs to be focused on the soul issue and not as much about the action. When our heart understand the vastness of Christ’s love that is undeserved we WANT to spend ourselves for him. Teach this over and again.

Ridding ourselves of what we are “owed” is a process, for adults and students. I think the first step is to stop complaining and to actually address it.

– Leneita

8 thoughts on “How To Be Entitled (Or Not)

  1. Avatar

    I love the article. It hits home. The best/hardest part was working with my selfishness first. Thank you. Also I am interested in learningore about coaching. Thanks again.

  2. Avatar

    I love the article. It hits home. The best/hardest part was working with my selfishness first. Thank you. Also I am interested in learningore about coaching. Thanks again.

  3. Avatar
    Ben Hoffmaster

    Wow, great thoughts. As I was reading this the thought came to me that even with salvation God didn’t owe us anything. It was because of His great love for us that He sent Jesus to not only live our lives so He could understand what we go through, but also to pay the penalty of sin that we “did deserve”.

    I believe that pride is always at the door waiting for us to think we are deserving, when we let this pride slip in we are letting the original sin in our lives. Lucifer while still in heaven said in Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” in a sense I guess he was saying, “I deserve it” because of his position as the worship leader and how beautiful he thought he was.

    Balance must be in all things, yes we do need to see ourselves a priceless and valuable, yes we are the “apple of God’s eye” yes He does love us with an everlasting love, yes if I was the only person on earth Jesus would still die for me, but that doesn’t mean He did it because I deserve it, but because we are His creations and because of how wonderful and good He is. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    • Avatar

      Ben, I think it’s the hardest part to embrace in our salvation. Yes, Jesus loves us just because He loves us. However, he never “owed” us salvation. He didn’t have to die a miserable death for our sake. He didn’t ever even have to come to earth. I should stand in awe of what He has done for me that I don’t deserve far more than I do.

  4. Avatar
    Ben Hoffmaster

    Wow, great thoughts. As I was reading this the thought came to me that even with salvation God didn’t owe us anything. It was because of His great love for us that He sent Jesus to not only live our lives so He could understand what we go through, but also to pay the penalty of sin that we “did deserve”.

    I believe that pride is always at the door waiting for us to think we are deserving, when we let this pride slip in we are letting the original sin in our lives. Lucifer while still in heaven said in Isaiah 14:14, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” in a sense I guess he was saying, “I deserve it” because of his position as the worship leader and how beautiful he thought he was.

    Balance must be in all things, yes we do need to see ourselves a priceless and valuable, yes we are the “apple of God’s eye” yes He does love us with an everlasting love, yes if I was the only person on earth Jesus would still die for me, but that doesn’t mean He did it because I deserve it, but because we are His creations and because of how wonderful and good He is. Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    • Avatar

      Ben, I think it’s the hardest part to embrace in our salvation. Yes, Jesus loves us just because He loves us. However, he never “owed” us salvation. He didn’t have to die a miserable death for our sake. He didn’t ever even have to come to earth. I should stand in awe of what He has done for me that I don’t deserve far more than I do.

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How To Be Entitled (Or Not)

Get free weekly resources from us!
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