There’s no pretty way to admit this, so I’ll come right out and say it: I feel entitled.
I’ve noticed the dissonance in my soul for months, but I’ve only recently put a name to it: entitlement.
Some people feel entitled to things because of who they are. My entitlement is based more on what I’ve done.
Motherhood, ever the sanctifying journey, was the magnifying glass that revealed this yuckiness in my heart. (Incidentally, I’m guest posting thoughts about motherhood for Jen Weaver today. Pay her a visit when you’ve finished here!)
You know how there’s a bit of truth in every joke?
I’ve made tons of lighthearted comments on social media over the past year about deserving a gift or accolade based on the hard work I’m doing mothering Carson. Recently, I made one such quip about push presents. Some of my friends laughed along with me, others pointed out how my daughter is present enough.
“Seriously!? She’s my thank you gift? Do you know how much work raising a child is? Having a baby is great and all, but I deserve a little something extra. I’ve earned it.”
Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.
I’ve been reading through Romans (using the GMJ from LLB) and it was a magnifying glass to my heart. Nearing the close of his letter, Paul sends personal greetings. He thanks lots of people, and I started to notice a trend.
3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. 5 Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 10 Greet Apelles, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobulus.
Did you catch it? Christians are hard workers.
Prisca and Aquila? Hard workers.
Mary? Another hard worker.
Urbanus? Winner of the Rad Name Award, also a hard worker.
Read on down and you’ll meet another man named Persis who “worked hard in the Lord.”
Christians are called to an obedience of faith, to be hard workers for the sake of the Gospel. My whole life is going to be characterized by hard work. Our work is not from a place of striving, but from being approved in Christ. Our work isn’t drudgery, but joy-filled.
Applying the text I had to ask myself, “Do I feel like my hard work deserves compensation?” The sad answer, is yes. I often do perceive that I should be thanked or acknowledged or honored based on the work that I do.
It’s why I think I deserve a thank you gift for being Carson’s mom.
It’s why I lose motivation when I’m not praised at the office.
It’s why I get bummed when my husband doesn’t shower me with flowers for being his amazing wife.
Christians aren’t entitled to anything because we labor as people who have already been given everything: immeasurable riches in Christ Jesus. We are hard workers, but our work is already complete in Christ. We work not for approval but from approval in Jesus. We simply don’t have the margin to be entitled; it doesn’t make sense.
As you work today, whether in an office or a studio or a kitchen with sticky floors, work as a person who is free from entitlement.
I’ll be humbly doing the same. And, by God’s grace, entitlement will disappear and give way to more holiness.