Serving vs Entitlement
Arguably, back nearly a century ago, The Great Depression was taking its toll on individuals and families all across the United States. Private charities, business leave programs and individual states were overwhelmed as they simply could not bear the financial burden of the needs of millions of citizens. The continued depression during the 1930s made U.S. Federal action necessary, and so began one of the largest, most comprehensive and most expensive programs in history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal proposed in 1935 has morphed into something so large, very few of us could have imagined.
What started as a reasonable response with good intentions has resulted in a multi-generational expectation by millions and millions of Americans, dooming people to a miserable, mediocre existence. Could it be that we have unintentionally handicapped folks by supplying guaranteed entitlements? Some would answer this question with an emphatic, YES! It could be argued that this entitlement system has slithered its way into just about every area of life. I mean, who came up with the idea that everyone gets a trophy?
Radio show host and political commentator Larry Elder suggests, "The welfare state incentivizes women to marry the government and allows men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility."
Is there a better way?
Jesus flipped things on its head when He said in Mark 10:42-45, "So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Here is the model that all of us could learn from. In this passage, Jesus was speaking about the entitled belief that the local leaders lorded over people. He was showing us that real satisfaction is found in serving others.
What if, instead of expecting that someone was always going to take care of me from birth to grave, we took on the idea of personal responsibility and that things were up to me? What if we simply came to a point in our nation that we no longer had the option of the government bailing us out of every financial hardship? What would we do? Where would the help come from? These are interesting questions that sooner rather than later, must be answered because the spending for our nation's entitlement programs have become unsustainable, exceeding half of all the revenue America takes in and only increasing.
We're finding an increasing number of business and church leaders adopting an action termed servant leadership. It's a type of leadership that models more personal initiative versus the expectation that you deserve everything. Ask yourself, "How would my outlook on life change if I adopted this same perspective?"
So here's a big challenge: This week, don't expect anything from anyone. Instead, you commit to serving everyone you routinely engage. Clean up your room without being asked. Surprise your family by cooking dinner. Handwrite a greeting card or note and give it to someone in your life you think would least expect it, telling them some of the things you like about them. Buy someone's lunch or a cup of coffee.
These are just a few examples of a life of serving instead of entitlement. When we all start living this way, who knows, maybe we can put a severe dent in the amount of spending on entitlements and see more people successful. Let's pray for that!