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Pastor and Leader Entitlement

Posted by Kent Copley , 10 June 2013 · 1210 views

Entitlement is a word that is often thrown around in political settings. We see it when one group demands another group help them out. It’s more and more common. Recently, I’ve seen it amongst our youth. In the absence of a youth pastor, my wife and I have been teaching the high school group on Sunday mornings and helping twenty-seven students ramp up for LIFE in St. Louis. We’ve helped with a church-wide fundraiser in addition to encouraging students to get out and work to raise more money. Recently, a gal in the youth group learned that another had earned more than her share of the money. The first gal asked, quite seriously, “Pastor Kent, can you transfer the balance of her account money into mine so I don’t have to do anymore fundraising?” She was bothered when I smiled and said, “No.”

Entitlement. There is much to say about it, isn’t there? Earlier this year during one of my devotional times the Lord brought to my attention a section of scripture in Ezekiel 34. Though I had read it before, the Lord shed some new light for me that day.

A prophecy comes to the shepherds of Israel, and it’s not a good one. Take a look at the list:

· Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves.
· You eat for yourselves
· You clothe your self
· Slaughter the choice animals for yourselves”
· BUT…You do not take care of the flock
o You haven’t strengthened the weak
o You haven’t healed the sick
o You haven’t bound up the injured
o You haven’t brought back the strays
o You haven’t searched for the lost
o You haven’t shown kindness (been harsh and brutal)
· They were scattered…because you didn’t shepherd them
· There were scattered and became food for wild animals
· The sheep wandered…
o without leadership
o without care
o without healing
o without being search for
o without feeling loved

What’s happening here? These leaders are receiving quite an indictment. Something happened. There must have been a shift in their hearts. It would seem that provisions are brought to the temple, yes for the priests, but also the people who struggle. And the priests look after themselves first. Not good. Isn’t this pastoral entitlement?

Sin creeps in. Gossip, spoken and unspoken, becomes the dominant conversation. Self-righteousness trickles into our demeanor. For me when I hear myself thinking, “I deserve…or I need…” then I know I’m swinging my faith the wrong way. I deserve…more salary. I need…a better house…a nicer car. Entitlement…“I deserve…(you name it).” What’s on your list?

What was the Lord’s response to such action? Keep reading Ezekiel. God came to the point where He couldn’t trust them anymore. He took over. “I myself will search…I will rescue…I will bring them out…I will bring them into their land…I will pasture them…I will tend them…” In this we see what the Lord will do to take care of the flock. However, in this we also see what the priests weren’t doing. The priests’ self-interest and entitlement mindset covered their eyes and heart to see true need and to show compassion.

Let us be a generation of pastors and leaders willing to set aside our own self-interests serve our Lord and His flock. “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

  • Don Sappington likes this

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