Being a big Paula Dean fan, I was tempted to transform this title to, “I deserve BUTTER”. I still might someday make that my personal motto, but for now I better get focused *squirrel!*
“I deserve better” is the call of the wild for egoists everywhere. It is best described as a sense of entitlement. You might not actually come right out and say those exact words, but you think it in your heart. You believe that you deserve something.
Some examples might be, “I’ve been good all week long and stayed on my diet, so tonight I deserve to eat a whole bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough… made with butter.” What, why are you staring at me?
And it can get even more sinister with things like money, “I’m working so hard lately that I deserve to buy myself those Louboutin shoes like the ones that Oprah wears.”
Recently I listened to some old Andy Stanley leadership podcasts that talked about a few different bad behaviors that stem from a sense of entitlement. (I’ve looked for the podcasts again and I can’t find them for the life of me, sorry.) Especially in leaders, this sense of entitlement is particularly ugly… and particularly hard to see in yourself. Normally everyone around you can see it clear as the nose on your face, but you are totally blind to your own faults.
So how do you know what it looks like in yourself? It looks like jealously, taking the credit for everything, getting a big head, never saying Thank You, not being able to celebrate the successes of others, and bragging. It can also look like voting to give yourself stock options and a pay raise when the whole company is tanking financially… but that’s another story.
A Christian with a sense of entitlement might feel like “God owes me” for all the work I’ve done for him. He owes me for all the sacrifices I’ve had to make for Him.
A non-believer might say “life owes me” or “Karma owes me” or “someone else owes me”.
This is a super ugly attitude among missionaries, and believe me, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen some missionaries live like America owes them. (Maybe they are starting to get a little dizzy up on that pedestal.) They say, “We’ve sacrificed so much already. We deserve… fill in the blank with something nice.” That’s not to say that there aren’t perks to living the missionary life style, there are. But our attitude should be one of extreme thankfulness to God for each new blessing and humility that we should be so honored to be chosen to serve where we do. A missionary should never have a sense of being owed something.
Why is entitlement such a Dangerous Attitude? It was Lucifer’s attitude when he tried to usurp the throne of God. Lucifer was the most beautiful angel that God created, but he felt like God owed him more. He felt like everyone owed him praise for his beauty and talents. Ultimately it lead him to rebel against God and be cast to Earth in defeat.
When it comes right down to it, we should remember our rightful place. We are servants… indentured servants bought with a price. We have no rights, and our only “just due” is death for our sins. We have no right to expect anything good… not even butter. So we should be thankful for every good gift we DO receive from the hands of our loving Master.