We are living smack-dab in the middle of what could easily be dubbed "The Entitlement Generation." An unapologetic "I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it" attitude is pervasive in our culture, and I truly believe that one word has single-handedly done more to contribute to this idea than any other:
Deserve is used by advertisers to create discontentment.
"Call right now to get the tax relief you deserve."
"We can help you buy the house you deserve."
"Join now to sculpt the body you deserve."
Deserve is used within families to demand fairness.
"I had to give the kids a bath last night, so I deserve to watch TV tonight."
"She went out on Friday, so I deserve to go out on Saturday."
"This relationship isn't working, and I deserve to be happy."
Deserve is used with our finances to avoid perseverance.
"She got a job right after college. I deserve one too."
"The next door neighbors have a new car, so I deserve one too."
"I have worked here for five years, so I deserve a promotion."
Webster's defines the word deserve this way: "to merit, be qualified for, or have a claim to because of actions, qualities, or situation." But I think it can be broken down far more simply than that.
Deserve means to "de-serve."
As in, un-serve. As in, the opposite of serve. As in, a selfishly inward focus rather than a sacrificially outward one. When we feel like we deserve something, we are likely de-serving someone else at the same time.
Entitlement is a human problem, not a Godly one. If God were in the business of fairness, Jesus never would have gone to the cross. God never would have shown Noah the rainbow. Hebrews 4:16 wouldn't tell us to "approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace...."
Jesus came to earth to be a servant. To give love, to show mercy, and to offer grace to a world that didn't deserve it. He deserved more. He deserved better. But he served instead.
Christ already knew what I am just now learning...that every choice we make says one of two things about us. It either says "I serve," or it says "I deserve."