Our entitlements… they’re the things we often think of as personal belongings. We’ve worked long and hard for them and consider ownership over them; retirement benefits, a good job that pays well as a result of our completing certain educational requirements, or even the narcissistic belief that we have the right to demand reimbursement from fate. They may even be “given” by virtue of legislation or the principles of our culture today. How did we earn them? We worked hard at school for our education, socking away savings with every paycheck, or otherwise contributed to or served our nation or society.
So we were talking in Disciple Group a while ago about the future. It seemed years ago that people cruised through life banking on retirement. Then what? Interestingly, a leader in the group was also an investment banker. He told stories of people who have planned their whole lives around retirement and what they plan to do THEN. Did they really miss the boat? Many people got there and found out they did. Entitlements from a worldly view are sort of like living for tomorrow – we make huge sacrifices, even working in jobs or careers that are distasteful all for the promises of tomorrow… then everything changes. The economy goes south, our health takes a turn for the worse, or we’re passed over… hey, what about my entitlement?
Our epic entitlement? We have just one…
The tremendous entitlement that we each have is opportunity. Think about it: the power of choice is opportunity. Even writing a blog is an opportunity to serve and help other people. Opportunity is what we make of it. Nothing more, nothing less. Have you ever let a good opportunity pass you by? Sure, we all have. We’ve also all made bad choices that turned out to be more like a stiff jail sentence than the journey down the road to a fairy tale ending.
Our epic entitlement is simply opportunity through freedom of choice. (Click To Tweet) That’s huge. Think of it as the free will to do what’s right.
Say you went to high school and graduated. Yay! You have a diploma, but more importantly you gained knowledge that you can use to help create opportunity. Are you entitled to anything? Not really. From there, you are accepted into a fine university and work hard to complete your formal education. Many consider this milestone to be an entitlement only to be humbled time and again. Your degree creates opportunities for you that you didn’t have before. However, they’re only what you make of them. There are highly educated people, including doctors and lawyers, who can’t hold down a job. Entitlement? Not. Opportunity creates fulfillment when we succeed, by virtue of our abilities and character. (Click To Tweet)
So I got to thinking about The Sad Cafe… The Troubadour. A metaphor in the making, this icon in West Hollywood has a history of opportunity and freedom. Here’s the video of some of the famous faces that have passed through the place. The Troubadour hosted the who’s who of rock and roll.
The Troubadour is no blip on the radar screen. Local hero’s are way cool but don’t get the wrong impression in the youthful penchant for trendy hipsters that there is something magnetic other than momentum. Show up, take the stage and be a rock star at The Troubadour back in the day and you were IT. Then, you’ve seized and fulfilled the opportunity. As the Eagles song goes, some of their dreams came true and some just passed away; some of them stayed behind inside the sad cafe. The song beckons our emotion to remember a time filled with hope and opportunity. I dig that. Pretty hip, and way cool.
“Look for the good in others, speak only words of kindness, and for poise walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn
Indeed, we can still find goodness even in places which seem very distant from the Lord. We’re all entitled to the opportunity that Jesus provides. Like Andy Stanley says, “everyone’s invited, everyone gets in the same way, everyone meets the requirement.”
Moving forward… whenever you hear the word entitlement think opportunity. That’s it, nothing more or less. It’s good enough for me! 🙂
What entitlements or expectations do you have for the future? What opportunities do you see as most important for your future?
Sadly,one thing some folks think they’re entitled to if they’re “basically good” is heaven. But heaven isn’t an entitlement to all; it’s a free gift to those who claim Jesus.
But as for your question, I expect the future to be an exciting adventure as I wait on what God has planned. Whatever it is, it will be good because He is good. And along the way, He is teaching me to number my days so that I make the most of those opportunities that come along; and also so that I will help create opportunities on my own–with His help, of course.
Great insight today, Chris.
These are excellent points Carol. Indeed, we should make every moment count. Thanks!
Interesting post. Entitlement is opportunity. Great new way to look at it.