Experts tell us that the sense of “entitlement” is a growing phenomenon in our culture. It is defined as a “feeling or belief that you deserve to be given something simply because of who you are.” It could be in the form of compensation, special privileges and rights, recognition, or even power. Throughout history most of these assets were given or awarded to someone because of their hard work, willingness to sacrifice, and their desire to take responsibility seriously and conscientiously. Parents have always wanted to provide a better and sometimes an easier life for their children than they experienced but it would seem that in more recent history this has often been at the expense of teaching the next generation the enormous value of needing to earn what you receive and to think as much about the needs of others as your own needs and desires. Would you agree that “entitlement” is one of the greatest enemies of “servanthood”?
When Jesus responded to 2 of His disciples who came to Him asking for the privilege of sitting next to Him in His kingdom, He clearly understood that they were feeling that they somehow deserved those seats of prominence. Since they still believed that the Kingdom of Heaven would soon be established, they obviously wanted to be sure that they would be right beside Him. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus did not point out to them their selfishness or become indignant with them for asking the question? Instead, he responded with a question, some direct information, and a personal example of what being the greatest looks like for those who are willing to follow Him. Because He, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness”, could with absolute integrity demonstrate the path to greatness. (Philippians 2:6 – 7)
A good test might be to look more carefully at how you respond when someone treats you or sees you as a servant rather than at your deeds of service.