A wise person heeds correction and discipline. It’s all about learning from our mistakes, isn’t it? I always tell my daughter that it is okay to fail or to make a mistake so long as we learn from it. If we keep repeating that same mistake over and over again…well, that’s another story.
The sermon at church this past Sunday was enlightening and opened my eyes to myself. I didn’t like what I saw. It was about defeating the spirit of entitlement in our lives. As Americans, we have come to expect our privileges as rights. As churchgoers, we sometimes expect certain privileges (such as, use of the building) as regular tithers. We view our church services as spiritual commodities that we purchase with our offerings rather than as places to come before God.
Our children have a sense of entitlement born out of our own. They reach a certain age and feel entitled to a cell phone. Or to snacks whenever and wherever they want them or to a certain brand of clothing. For the most part, we let them. We indulge them because we think that is the right way. We pursue satisfaction with our lives, losing sight of the fact that the moment we gave our lives for Christ, we gave up our rights.
Ours is the upside down kingdom, where those who want to be first must be last. It is the place where a widow’s mite counts as more in God’s accounting than a tremendous dollar amount from a wealthy businessman. This sense of entitlement in opposition to the way of Christ is summarized in one of today’s proverbs:
15 A simple man believes anything,
but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
Am I considering the Lord as I make my daily decisions? Or do I make my decisions and then consult with God afterwards, if at all? Do I believe that I am entitled to certain rights, either within the spiritual realm or the worldly one? How much of my problem with anxiety has its roots in selfishness? An uncomfortable thought, to be sure.
Was a sense of entitlement what led me to seek out a different church? I wanted to feel comfortable during worship. I wanted to feel connected to the Lord in a way that gave me goosebumps and took my breath away. But in the process of switching, my daughter now has the daunting task of making new friends all over again. Was it worth it?
These are difficult questions that won’t be solved tonight.
Perhaps, though, my continued reading of Proverbs will shed light — and wisdom — on my life in the coming days that will help me find the path.