When Entitlement Comes to Church
If there is one place where entitlement should be anathema, it is the local church. Remember the reason Jesus came to earth? “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life – a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, HCSB). And how are we followers of Christ to live? We are to “make (our) own attitude that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Servanthood should dominate the lives of church members. Putting others first should be our first priority. Entitlement has no place in our churches.
How do we know when entitlement becomes pervasive in our churches? We can be sure it’s present when we hear comments similar to these:
“I have been a member of this church for 20 years, so I deserve things my way.”
“Someone was sitting in the pew where my family sits.”
“I tithe to this church, so you work for me.”
“If I don’t get my way, I’ll withhold my money from the church.”
“Some people will be in trouble if they mess with the worship the way I like it.”
“We’ll just visit another church until he changes things back to the way they were.”
“Why didn’t you visit me? That’s what we pay you to do.”
I could continue. Indeed you could add to the quotes as well. But my point, I believe, is clear. There is no place in the church for a self-serving attitude. To the contrary, we are to give cheerfully and serve others joyfully.
Where Entitlement Must End
Perhaps entitlements will continue to expand in the federal government. There seem to be no signs of it abating. Unfortunately, many marriages will fail because the husband or the wife has an entitlement mentality. And many employees will never be happy at their places of work, no matter how many job changes they make. They will always feel entitled to something more, something better.
But entitlement must end in the church.
Countless believers went to church this weekend in nations around the world. But many of them were not concerned about the music style, how long the pastor preached, or if the budget was to their liking. These believers’ primary concern was for their lives and the lives of their families. Indeed the persecuted church may be the one place where no entitlement exists.