I am concerned.
I am concerned that we live in a “serve me” world. We are in route, if not already there, to being an entitlement culture. I hesitated even as I wrote that sentence because I don’t mean to start on such a low note. But to defeat a villain, the villain must first be identified. We live in a serve me world. And maybe, we live in and participate in this “serve me” world more than we know or would care to admit.
I have found there are times when people tip their hands that they are full fledged citizens in the “serve me” world. Like you, I have met many that somehow expect that everybody and every institution is a customer satisfaction desk dedicated solely to meeting their needs. Much to my dismay, I have probably done the same thing.
I’ve seen it in the college classroom. Students (training for ministry no less) will email explaining why they will not be able to submit their assigned coursework and suggest that I should change the due dates or the submission policies. It is not everyone, but it always happens with one or two. It is a “serve me” world you know, so change the policies.
I’ve seen it as a karate instructor. Certainly not with most, but with many over the course of the years – they confuse a class designed for training and instruction with a consumer product designed to serve their ever-changing best interests.
Ive seen it in the ministry. Countless hours with husbands and wives and children. Living in a “serve-me” world. It is a cancer in the home. In the complicated arena of relationships, people propel their marriages toward a train wreck when they live and act like it is everyone’s prerogative to live only for their own best interests. Men and women live like their spouses are customer service reps at a cell phone store or the complaint box at a local diner. When a husband or wife lives like their own needs trump all others, trouble is soon to come.
I’ve seen it with teenagers. At an age where maturity should be progressing, young people instead are increasingly egocentric. Rather than seeing their parents as people who God has given for their training and instruction, many youth really want their parents to be chefs, waiters, maids, and a bottomless ATM machine. And why not? After all, they are being raised and taught in a “serve-me” world.
It was last March when we learned of a New Jersey high school student who decided she could not live in her parent’s house anymore because of the rules – apparently as reported by news outlets, a few chores and a curfew was too much to bear. While living at a friends house – she attempted to sue her parents for the remaining tuition at her private school, as well as living and transportation expenses. An attorney was willing to represent her.
Absurd, you say? Why not? We live in a “serve-me” world.
The tension for the believer is this; as we study the scripture, we see the call of the Christian is dramatically different. The Christian believer, by that, I mean the man, women or young person who has declared Jesus Christ as their savior and only hope for eternal life and their only treasure in this life – the Christian believer is called not to subscribe to the “serve me” mentality, but to be a servant. “Servant” is a nice word, but if we translate it correctly from the Bible, what we learn about servanthood is that we are actually called to be slaves – slaves to God and His will. In bible times, a slave was not a person, but the property of another. For the believer, we are God’s property.
No truth is more pervasive in Scripture than this one – real freedom, real victory is found in obedience and servanthood to God. Yet no truth is more incongruent with modern culture. So, here we stand before stark
crossroads – The gospel message of true freedom vs. the culture’s ideal of living with a “serve-me” mentality.
Culture Teaches – Hold on to Life; it’s yours
Scripture Teaches – Lose your life, for His sake
Culture Teaches – Follow Your Dreams
Scripture Teaches – Let your dreams be His dreams
Culture Teaches – Pride wins the day
Scripture Teaches – Humility wins the day
Culture Teaches – Serve Me; Give Me More; I’m entitled
Scripture Teaches – Serve God; Serve others; Give me less; All I need is
For the next several weeks at Providence Church we are going to be in a series of messages titled- “The Outward Focused Life – Serving God in a Serve-Me World.” Over these weeks we are going to be studying the scripture on the key issue of servanthood in several key areas of our lives. First we look at the theological foundation of servanthood and why it even matters. We will continue from there to see what the scripture teaches about how we serve God in our families, serve God in the church, and serve
God with our time, our talents, and our treasures.
This journey will be a challenging one for me and I expect for you, but I think it will be worth it when the end game is to look more like Christ and answer His call on our lives.
Join us on Sunday Nights at 6:00 and be sure to invite someone.