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I held the discharge paperwork in my hand, waiting for the signature that indicated understanding of the simple diagnosis of Otitis Media – an ear infection. Her long, acrylic nails flew over the keyboard on her state of the art phone, and she flicked a glance at me. “Can I get a script for that Tylenol?”
I knew why. She wanted a prescription for it so that her medical coupon would cover the cost of the over-the-counter medication, and she would have more money for the vending machine Doritos that she was busily crunching and the designer jeans that she wiped her fingers on. Her little one, fussy from the ear infection, turned her miserable face to me and I glimpsed the crusted river running from her nose down to her lip. “She needs more apple juice, too.” Mother-of-the-year stated as she continued crunching and texting and ignoring her kid.
The attitude of entitlement drove me absolutely crazy.
Crazy, I tell you.
The attitude that everyone owed her life on a silver platter, and she shouldn’t have to lift a finger.
But you know what? I might wrap it prettier, but the same deadly toxin flows through my veins, too. I caught myself just the other day fuming and fussing in my mind because someone (okay, a whole bunch of someones) weren’t being as helpful as I would like. As supportive as they should be.
You’d think they murdered someone by the way I was mentally railing at them.
God stopped me in my entitled tracks, and gave me something to think about:
“The Son of Man did not come to BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE and to lay down His life as a ransom for many.”
And I hung my self righteous head. Paused with the Doritos.
Turned once more to the cross.
Because, at the cross I can look into the face of the God-become-man and remember that servanthood and sacrifice aren’t easy. It’s not natural. It costs. And when I think of the ingratitude and selfishness that Jesus faced (and faces in my heart on a daily basis), it becomes crystal clear that I could do a lot better changing up my focus.
A self-centered heart is a selfish heart.
A Jesus-focused heart is a servant’s heart.
I will never run out of things to complain about if that’s where I want to spend my time. And when you put it that way? I don’t. I’m over it. This whole she-did-this and he’s-so-stinkin’-irritating…can I not just grow up a little?
The truth is, I am not owed life on a silver platter, and yeah, this life is hard. And filled with hard people and hard choices and hard truths. But I can choose. Choose selflessness when I want to be selfish. Choose love when I could stay bitter. Choose life-giving words instead of the petty snippiness that they deserve.
This Christmas, could we unwrap some Jesus-humility and servanthood along with the tissue paper and ribbons? Garnish our loaded holiday platters with kindness and gratitude instead of feeling entitled to more than we have?
At the cross, I see the choice that Jesus made, and it’s His kindness that leads me to repentance.
He chose love.
So will I.
Help us, Lord.