A hypothetical example: a neighbor is sick and you offer to keep her child for the day. She accepts without a thank-you and brings over her dirty laundry for you as well, giving detailed instructions on how she wants it done. To me, that's an attitude of entitlement.
We see it in regard to the government every day.
We see it in regard to family relationships.
We see it in the market place and at work.
We even see it in church.
I'm aware of all that and can "sniff" out entitlement issues a mile away.
Except when it comes to God. And me.
Tonight, after listening to the straight-forward, well-spoken, often humorous testimony from a woman who was dying (she shared her testimony in March of 09 and she died of cancer in July of 09), I realized that I also have an entitlement problem.
Like... God owes me.
Like I'm not always (umm.. maybe... ever) grateful that I can simply get in my car and drive to Sonic for a large drink during Happy Hour because - that's my right. And it's not much. It's not like I'm asking for the moon or anything - just a 55 cent glass of large ice water (our ice maker died an untimely death a while back) that is on sale every day between the hours of 2 and 4 for half price.
Like when I have a kick-posterior head cold, I have the, um, right, to turn up my toes, go to bed, and leave my husband (and the rest of the world) with extra things to do because I'm napping or reading or reading or napping, whichever comes first... As in, I don't feel like cooking but I may, when push comes to shove, feel like picking up pizza. Come again???
Like when I have something worse than a strong head cold, I may.. (ha!) be irritable. As in: this shouldn't be happening to me. And now, after listening to Rachel's testimony, I wonder: why do I ever think that way. And yet, I do.
And if it's something serious that requires more than a quick visit to the doctor and a couple of prescriptions - if it's something scary even - then maybe it boils down to, in my mind: God, this shouldn't be happening to me. You shouldn't have allowed this. And if I'm really honest, it may boil down to: God, who are You to allow this to happen to me? I may not put it into words but still, it may well be there.
The certainty that I am entitled.
Sometimes, when things go wrong, I am the neighbor who brings over the kids and the load of dirty laundry without so much as a thank-you, leaving a trail of complaints in my wake. And God is the One who gets the laundry, the kids, and the complaints without so much as a thank-you.
If you can identify, I would strongly recommend that you listen to this testimony.
In our modern world, we often avoid the dying, gathering around their bedside only when the doctor says it is time but not with any hopes of anything good coming from the deathbed experience. And so often, nothing good does come of it. That we can see.
But the Puritans used to want to sit by the bed of a dying saint, a true Christ-follower, hoping that they would get a glimpse of the next world as this child of God transitioned from one world to the next. I don't think we really have that concept in our modern, secular society or at least, I haven't come across it.
But still, I think that we do understand that death has a way of cutting to the chase. That a dying person sees clearly things that we, in the midst of a busy life, can't see. Things, perhaps, that when it's our time to go Home, we might wish we had seen more clearly back when we had more options.
Rachel was dying when she made this speech but her voice was clear, her appearance pleasing, her thoughts clear and well-defined, her sense of humor totally intact, and her sense of entitlement, totally at abeyance.