In light of my profession (writing, speaking), I over-fret about entitlement. I have an inherent need to evaluate myself in light of my platform, to make sure I’m not usurping the spotlight Jesus rightly deserves.
Why? Because I’ve watched entitlement turn into to self-centeredness, which then breeds narcissism. In my foray around the Christian ministry machine, I’ve (unfortunately) encountered Christian workers who believe the world owes them applause, money, glory, and time. That because they are doing this difficult thing for Jesus, others should step up and gift them with all sorts of things.
What about joy?
What about serving Jesus, not for material or personal gain, but simply for His sake?
What about the paradox of suffering joyfully for His Name? Or that we grow best through sacrifice and facing trials with integrity?
I’ve met people who firmly believe it’s the Body of Christ’s job to take Christian workers out to dinner, shower them with blessings, fix their houses, pay for their children’s schooling, because, after all, they’re doing this hard thing for Jesus.
I’ve met people who appear to be working hard in ministry, but actually don’t work at all. I’ve met people who hide their sins behind the veil of ministry. I’ve met people who go into ministry to run away from their glaring and blatant sin issues. I’ve met people in ministry who are more than willing to share how you’re wrong, but crucify you if you dare bring up one sin issue. I’ve met people who abuse their families while studying theology. I’ve met people who’ve gone into ministry simply because it afforded them credibility, the perfect facade to cover up what is dying underneath.
If being in ministry is about the money we get, the prestige we have, the indulgences we cherish, the ability to hide behind an acceptable Christian facade, then we are walking on the wrong road. The road is wide, Jesus said, that leads to destruction. The road is narrow, leading to Him. (See Matthew 7:13-14). And that road has nothing–nothing–to do with entitlement. Since when did Christianity have anything to do with demanding to be served? (See Mark 10:45).
If we believe that the world exists for us in some sort of self-centered love fest, we are gravely wrong. If we mistake the generosity of others as our due reward, we miss the mark. It’s not that others owe us, it’s that we owe Jesus everything.
I can’t help but think that a sense of entitlement breaks God’s heart.On the joys and rewards that become ours when we reject entitlement and practice humble obedience. @marydemuth #theopendoorsisterhood Click To Tweet
Maybe that’s why I love my church so much. It’s not a perfect church, but it’s honest. And the leaders have a strong work ethic, good accountability, evident moral character, and a desire to see God’s kingdom (not theirs) advanced. If it weren’t for my church, I would have allowed cynicism to embitter my heart.
Whether you’re in ministry or not, all of us must settle ourselves into these two words: GOD SEES. He sees those who serve Him for their own gain. He knows when others serve Him to hide. Or to gain financial freedom. Or to be showered with earthly praise. Or to be served. He sees.
But here is the great news: Jesus also sees our quiet obedience, joyful sacrifice, faithfulness in little things, and our undecorated, come-as-you-are discipleship. He dignifies the undignified, strengthens the weak, empowers the powerless. He does this because He loves to, and He gets the glory working through humble, dependent followers. (See 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.)
I am utterly grateful that He chooses the broken and foolish and weak to shame the entitled.
Mary DeMuth is an international speaker and podcaster, and she’s the author of over thirty books, including the latest: Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love for You Makes You Worthy (Baker 2016). She loves to help people re-story their lives. She lives in Texas with her husband of 25 years and is the mom to three adult children. Find out more at marydemuth.com.