If weather could speak, that’s what it would have said to us this past Wednesday morning where I live. Only three days after spring’s official arrival, the brown-yellow-greenish landscape had turned white again. And we all knew it was coming; every weather forecast proffered for a couple of days had warned of varying amounts of snow for Wednesday. It should have come as no surprise – but judging by the number of car accidents, it did surprise many people.
I was less surprised than crestfallen by the change in the weather. I’ve been a weather bug for most of my life, so I pay attention to meteorological trends. I knew it was coming, but when I rose on Wednesday morning, it just disappointed me. I thought I had put my winter boots away for a few months, but alas, I had to get them out of the closet yesterday. And again today.
My own experience of the past few days may be like some others’. Amid my disappointment, it was as if I were thinking, How dare it snow again! It was all gone, and now it’s spring. What’s with that? And I think my feeling illustrates well the culture of entitlement we have developed.
Many adults will look at the younger generation and cluck their collective tongues at the sense of entitlement felt by kids today – the idea that they feel like they have the right to have whatever they want whenever they want it. (There’s a whole mess of reasons why this is more our fault than theirs, but exploring that is not my purpose here!) The simple reality is that most people today have a feeling of entitlement.
That feeling of entitlement goes beyond the realm of Stuff. It even extends to the spiritual realm.
Too often, we tend to look at our faith, and even at God, as just another commodity – something from which we can Get What We Want. And when we don’t get it, we become disenchanted. But is that the way Scripture views our faith, or God?
No, it’s about relationship. I realized, when preparing this Sunday’s message for St. Paul’s, Nobleton, that I talk a lot about the importance of a personal relationship with God through Jesus. I realized that this is not something for which I feel obliged to apologize. If anything, I see it as a divinely-inspired clarion call for those who are part of God’s church to reset their focus. When our relationship with God is primary, other things curiously find their place in the pecking order of life – and none of them pecks higher than God. What’s more, when we make that relationship primary, we find that it’s less about what we can get and more about what we can give. Not much about entitlement there, is there?
When we are in a love relationship with another person, we don’t base that relationship on what we can get from it, but what we can give to it – and to the other person. The same is true in our relationship with God. When our relationship with God is vibrant and growing, we don’t think about what we can get from God, but about how we can honour God.
“We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly. As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people” (1 Thessalonians 1.2-4, NLT).
May yours be a weekend of service to the God who served us by giving his Only Son, regardless of the weather!