Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
I don’t want what I deserve, Friend.
A few days ago the evening news broadcast aired a video clip of striking fast food workers. They were noisily demanding double their current wage, making their proposed pay about $15 per hour. In the course of the demonstration the reporter interviewed a young lady, asking about her motives for striking. Her reply puzzles me yet: “We want $15 an hour because we deserve it.” For some reason that really irked me. No you don’t! Why would you think you deserve more than the average nurse aide or transport car driver? I did a little research on the term “deserve.” The dictionary tells us it means to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to because of actions, qualities, or situation. It comes from a 13th century French word meaning "to be entitled to because of good service." What a thought! My McDonald’s kid thinks he is entitled to $15 per hour because of good service. I don’t think so. Moving frozen food from freezer to grease to bag…service? Handing me a pre-packaged bundle of grease while he chats with the pimply girl next to him…service? Providing the world with additives, blubber, and fillers guaranteed to clog every known conduit of blood flow…service? No, he thinks he deserves it because he was born. “I exist, therefore you owe me.” That attitude of entitlement is annoying to most of us.
I think as Christians, especially “Word” people, we sometimes lapse into a sense of entitlement that is annoying as well. We hear, and rightly so, that we are the righteousness of God in Christ, we are accepted in the beloved, and we have been blessed with all spiritual blessings. It is a good thing to be conscious of our position in Christ. It is foundational to a faith that presses in to receive all that belongs to us. It is also important to remember that we had absolutely nothing to do with it. All we did was show up. We were strangers to the covenants of promise and without hope in the world. We were controlled, even owned, by the prince of the power of the air and deserving of the wrath of God. Our best efforts at “goodness” were to God as filth. I love to preach the believer’s in Christ position, but without a firm grasp on our “out of Christ” position it can leave us with an attitude that sounds a little like pride, especially to the person who is still in his sin. Without Christ we are lower than a worm’s belly, prostrate and whimpering. With Him we are seated in the heavenlies. It is He who entitles us. He took our curses. We got His blessing. Gratitude is our only logical attitude.
Somebody Said: If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice. — Meister Eckhart
Scripture Reading: May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. (Col 1:11 GNB)
When I hear the phrase, “I deserve” I can only think that I deserved hell. What I get is heaven. I deserved death and got life. I deserved sickness and got health. I deserved poverty and got wealth. I rejoice in it. I am confident of it. But I know I didn’t do it. Every breath I take is evidence of God’s ongoing grace. Thank You, Jesus!