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Entitlement Attitude or Servant’s Heart

March 17, 2010

  St. Patrick’s purpose

Today we celebrate what is widely known as an Irish holiday. Like all other holidays it has been commercialized and marketed, but behind all the shamrocks, green clovers and leprechauns we celebrate the life of an amazing man of God that wasn’t even Irish…

History tells us that St. Patrick was born in England. When he was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland against his will and lived as a slave to the Irish.  Six years later, he escaped and found his way back to his home land, England. 

We don’t remember St. Patrick for the time he spent in slavery, it is what he did with his freedom that he is remembered for. 

St. Patrick crossed the border into Ireland again.. this time willingly and spent the rest of his life in Ireland as a missionary sharing the good news and hope of Jesus Christ to those who once enslaved him.  He willingly laid down all that was rightfully his and all entitlements to live with a true servant’s heart.

Entitlement Attitude or a Servant’s Heart

Learning to identify an entitlement attitude in our life:

  • Pursuing our own agenda without thinking of others

Philippians 2:3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Entitlement isn’t just a feeling.  Entitlements are real and we all have them.  Relationships give us entitlement… Owning something gives us entitlement… The Bible says that even our faith in Jesus Christ to forgive and save us entitles us to be called children of God.  We all have entitlement in some way… it’s what we do with it that will determine if we live with a servant’s heart or an entitlement attitude.

Entitlements have limitations. Compassion, consideration and thinking of others better than ourselves provide the limitations and boundaries for our entitlement. 

We cross the line of entitlement when we pursue our own desires and agenda without thinking of others or sometimes even at the expense of others. 

As a homeowner, I am entitled to do what I choose to do in my own home.  That entitlement has boundaries.  Not just legal boundaries but in consideration for others as well.  I can not just decided to have two hundred of my closest friends over, playing loud music until 3 am everyday.  The first night my neighbors might extend me a little grace, the second night they would be very angry and by the third night they would probably just call the police.   Why?  Because that behavior would be crossing the line of my entitlement.   A silly example, I know… but it makes the point that our entitlements have limitations when it concerns the consideration of others. 

Motherhood comes with a certain amount entitlement in our children’s lives.  Parenting is seasons and with each season of parenting that entitlement changes.  If we are not discerning the change in those seasons we are bound to cross the line of our entitlement.  Parenting with the true heart of a servant rather than with an entitlement attitude will produce far greater fruit. 

Leadership is a privilege.  With it comes entitlements.  But a true leader knows that the secret to great leadership is a servant’s heart not an entitlement attitude. 

When we are tempted to say something or do something just because we think we have the right to do it… We need to STOP.  Having the right to do or say something isn’t a good enough reason to do or say it.  We must consider the impact those words or actions will have on others.

In every area of our life where we may have been given some type of entitlement, we should be careful to choose a servant’s heart over an attitude of entitlement.

  • The Blame Game / Thinking someone owes you something  

St. Patrick was a very good example of  choosing to lay down entitlement to live with a servant’s heart.  But Jesus was and is a perfect example.  His crucifixion is evidence of his pure servant’s heart with lessons for us to learn. 

We don’t find Jesus playing the Blame Game… although rightfully so it was others who were causing his pain.  It was men who whipped and beat him, It was people who were driving the nails into his hands and feet and yet do we find Jesus crying out… “People, people why do you forsake me?” 

No, instead He cries out… “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” 

Matthew 27:46  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Teaching us that when we are in pain the only way to avoid an entitlement attitude is to turn our tough questions to God. 

When life hurts, when we don’t understand, when it seems that our pain is caused by others it is so easy to place all the blame on people.  But, the reality is that blaming others for our pain will never heal it.  The only true way to freedom is to learn to take our tough questions in life to God.  Work it out with Him.  We may not get the answers we want, maybe we wont even get all our questions answered at all.  But we will have peace and resolve and freedom.  God is one who can help us in our greatest time of need, blaming people doesn’t help; it only prolongs the pain. 

The “you owe me” attitude tends to work together with the Blame game. 

In the midst of his crucifixion, Jesus could have said, “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, I am the Way, I am the Truth, I am the Life, No one gets to the father except through me…  You owe me!”  But, Jesus never had an entitlement attitude.  Even though He knew that he had the power at any moment call down angels to his rescue… He willingly laid down his life and all of His authority to be a servant. 

  • Jealousy / Excuses

Galatians 5:26  Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Going back to St. Patrick’s story for a moment… Imagine his life after he escaped and returned home… but the home he returns to is six years later and different.  How easy would it have been for him to make excuses because of the years that had been robbed from him?  He could have spent years being jealous of the success others had achieved while he was enslaved.  Instead, he looked to God for a plan and purpose; knowing that God can work all things together for the good, even six years of slavery. 

Jealousy and excuses are just a spirit of lack… 

A spirit (or attitude) of lack can only have power in our life when our eyes are on others.  Turning to God gives hope.  God knows the pits He has pulled us out of.  He knows where we have been and has a beautiful plan for where we can go and do. 

Instead of comparing ourselves to others… Why not just turn to God and ask, “What to you have for me?”  Nothing is impossible for God.  When we begin to walk out our own purpose with God, we are free to rejoice with others in their success.  Jealousy and excuses no longer have any power. 


Just as St. Patrick found his purpose in life as he laid down entitlement in exchange for a servant’s heart… we too will find that surrendering our will and entitlements for a servant’s heart is the key to unlocking our own God-given purpose in life. 


Linked to We are THAT Family

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 7:00 pm

    Thank you for such a moving reminder.

  2. March 17, 2010 7:30 pm

    Excellent points – I can use this for a meditation. Thanks.

  3. Leah Ohrberg permalink
    March 18, 2010 8:38 am

    As always….such great teaching Danise! Thank you for all the time you take to help others!

  4. Jannice permalink
    June 21, 2013 7:29 am

    This article sounds like its been filtered through LOVE..I’ve looked at other articles online and I could tell if the author wrote it with anger or love. Thank you.

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