Last night as I was watching game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals something stuck out to me. Much has been made of the Miami Heat and the Big 3 and everyone has weighed in on why or why not it is a good idea. I am not a sportswriter, nor is this a sports blog, however, the thought I had crosses from sports to other areas as well.
As I watched the teams battle it out on the court there was a noticeable difference in the way the two teams played. The Celtics were playing to with an “all out” mentality to earn a championship. It comes across that the Heat are playing with the expectation that they are entitled to win and everyone is supposed to accept it. That is what I see as the reason the Heat lost last night and will likely lose the series.
A sense of entitlement is never a good thing. Whenever we feel we deserve something or are owed, we usually don’t show any gratitude and rarely put our “all” into whatever it is.
At a restaurant where we expect to be served and have what we want when we want, we tend to behave in a way that we wouldn’t in other places. We are more demanding, less tolerant, and, unfortunately, often less polite. In this situation, one usually doesn’t walk away with an immense sense of gratitude for the waiter/waitress that just served them. This is because we feel entitled to that service because we are paying for it.
That sense of entitlement is what turn a person into a jerk. It is what causes them to loose focus on others around them. It is, at its core, selfishness. It is inward looking, thinking, focused.
There is much of this in society today. We feel very entitled as Americans to so many things.
Too often, we transfer this over to the church as well. We begin to believe that we are entitled to certain things when we attend church. It becomes a club where we are a member to be served rather than to serve. We even begin to feel that God owes us something. This is one reason why so many struggle with the reality of God and/or walk away when life hits a bumpy stretch. When a person feels entitled to the blessings of God, they get very disillusioned quickly when they don’t get what they want, when they want it and then blame God.
The Celtics don’t seem to have the same sense of entitlement as the Heat as a team. They seem to be trying to earn it; to do whatever it takes to win.
With God, we are neither entitled nor can we earn anything. In fact, we deserve punishment and death for our selfishness & pride against a holy God. Instead, God in His grace and mercy offers us His blessing and purpose and life.
The right attitude is gratitude. We are not entitled, God does not owe any of us anything. We can’t earn anything from Him, we are not good enough or strong enough to do so. We can, however, live a life fully devoted to Him and His purposes by serving others and giving our all out of gratitude for what He has already done.