Missional Crisis #1: Entitlement

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Mission dies when entitlement lives. When Christians feel entitled to the best and the brightest, there is little room for God’s mission to grow and thrive in us.

How can we share the Gospel with more intentionality? How has the Spirit of God uniquely called you to embody a costly discipleship? When these questions are pursued wholeheartedly in Christ, they can turn your world upside-down. Over the recent years, there has been an upswing in the church’s focus on mission. Conferences have rallied around mission, books have been published on creating missional culture and small groups have re-imagined themselves as missional communities. It’s been encouraging to see a renewed focus on God’s call to our neighbors and the nations. But beneath the surface of all our missional talking points, I wonder – how many of us are actually living in life-on-life, real-time, Gospel-centered relationships? How many of us actually care?

One of the greatest dangers within the North American church is our sense of entitlement. Entitlement kills God’s mission from being fully embodied in your life. It robs you from faithful risk-taking. It renders you immobile. It staves off any real response to Jesus. Entitlement, or I-want-ism, shifts your focus from Jesus to self. And when that happens, the results – probably all too familiar to you and to me – are both devastating and sad. When Jesus ceases to be the Caller in our lives, we not only lose sight of mission but also worship, community and faith. Without Him, we begin to make futile attempts to reclaim calling and passion as we desperately cling on to our sense of entitlement to great messages, better worship sets and an ever-growing appetite for more knowledge, all of which can functionally leave us with little room for real discipleship. Instead of simply responding to Matthew 28:18-20, entitlement thrusts us into a cycle of consuming more “stuff” and makes us the center of the Gospel. Under the deceptive guise of preparation or growth, we’ll spend time on a missional study of the Great Commission, unpacking the nuances between sovereignty and free will. We’ll jump from church to church and ministry to ministry, taking in what we like but never really committing to the local body in worship, community and mission. We’ll go to this year’s mission conference and hear the same things we heard last year. We’ll look for the next great sermon or talk. We’ll even take the time to train others in what we’ve downloaded into the reservoirs of our minds yet have never actualized as tangible, experienced knowledge. All the while, Jesus’ call remains, beckoning us to abandon ourselves for the sake of joining-in with God’s kingdom coming. Will you GO?

The mission of God always goes forward because the mission belongs to the God of mission. But it will wither in our lives if we cater to entitlement and oversaturate ourselves with “Christianity’s best.” How many churches and ministries do you have to sift through for that perfect convergence of everything-you-wanted (but probably nothing-God-envisioned)? How many missional conferences do you need to attend until you’ll actually go? Missional gatherings are great; they’re meant to equip the saints. But equipping is always for the sake of something else.

What if we pursued something different? What would it look like for you to simply hear, know and respond to Jesus?

Know Christ, and surrender your sense of entitlement to live out His call.

Hebrews 13:12-13 (ESV)

12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.

Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond

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