Where are you going today? That’s a pretty simple question, particularly if you’ve already checked your calendar.
What about this question? What is your assignment from God for today? A little tougher? Some of you will honestly shrug and wonder if I’m going to shed some light on that for you. I can’t help but wonder how many want to argue, declaring that God will make it clear to you in the moment. Maybe.
But I think we overlook one critical assignment from God. One He issued while Jesus still walked the earth: Noticing others. How well do you do this?
The Assignment We Struggle with
To say “I deserve” means that you have a right to something and can therefore demand it. ~Dr. John Townsend, The Entitlement Cure
Think of your favorite store. Now think of the place you most commonly get groceries. Which drive-through do you drive through maybe a little too often?
Got all three places in mind? Great. Name some of the employees. Go ahead. Make a mental or written list. How many names did you come up with?
Maybe you think I’m being unfair. After all, those people are getting paid to work at those places. You pay their salary by shopping there; they owe you appreciation. Hmmm.
How about thinking this way for a moment: that cashier or shelf stocker chose to show up to work. They decided to serve you, even if you are having a bad day or are just full of yourself. Yes, they are earning a wage, but that doesn’t mean you deserve service.
Kinda reminds me of Romans 12. You may be familiar with the opening verses that say we’re to be a living sacrifice, and we shouldn’t conform to the pattern of the world but should renew our minds. Right after this, Paul writes something that often gets overlooked.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (verse 3)
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. Ouch. I’m sure I’m guilty of doing this more often than I want to know.
2 Keys to Noticing Others
So how do we get better at noticing the people around us? Much like with any other habit or discipline we want to improve, we must provide some effort and regular practice.
1. Look for people. Intentionally call them by name.
In Matthew 4:18, Jesus saw two brothers, and in verse 21 he saw two other brothers. Mark 6:34 records Jesus seeing a large crowd, and John 9:1 says Jesus saw a man blind from birth.
Jesus saw people. So the next time a kind employee asks if they can help you or the cashier asks if you found everything okay, see them. Notice their name tag. Thank them for helping you.
2. Allow people to interrupt your schedule
In Acts 3:1-6, the author Luke shares a miraculous healing by Peter and John.
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Peter and John were on their way somewhere. They had an appointment to join the prayer meeting at church. But when a person called out, they took the time to see him. To listen to what he wanted. And to respond to his needs with what God had provided them in the moment.
You have a boss, and His name is God. ~Dr. John Townsend, The Entitlement Cure
Many Christians know the Great Commission given by Jesus before he ascended into heaven.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Often we interpret the command to go and make disciples in our modern understanding of the word. It certainly means to travel or to journey, but in the context of the time period, it makes the most sense to define the word as when you have gone. Luke 10:38 translates this same word by saying, “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way,” and Luke 13:22 says, “as he made his way to Jerusalem.”
Jesus knew we would go—to the store, to the neighbor’s house, to the park. As we go, we are to make disciples. That means noticing people along the way and allowing them to interrupt our planned schedules.
Maybe Henry Blackaby says it best. “Find out where God is at work and join Him there.”
So, Tell Me . . .
I want to know what you think!
- Did this post make you think a bit to make sure you’re on track with God? Write ‘Yes’ in the comments below.
- Does this motivate you to make some changes in your life? Write ‘Changes Ahead!’ in the comments below.
- Do you need to think about it some more or figure out what God wants you to do? Let me know you are ‘Still Thinking.’
- Anything else come to mind? Share it below! Your comments encourage me to keep writing, no matter how insignificant you think your thoughts about this post are.
If you want to read more about battling entitlement in your heart, check out Dr. John Townsend’s book The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way.
Today we live in a culture that says, “Life should be easy and work well.” This attitude, called entitlement, influences our most important institutions: family, business, church, and government. Its devastating effects contribute to relational problems, work ethic issues, and emotional struggles.
It comes down to this: People are not getting to where they want to go, because they don’t know how to do life the hard way. Entitlement keeps them from tackling challenges and finding success.
But whether readers are struggling with their own sense of entitlement or dealing with someone who acts entitled, The Entitlement Cure will equip them to turn away from a life of mediocrity to a life of engagement, satisfaction, and joy.
Drawing from his experience as a counselor and leadership consultant, renowned psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. John Townsend explores strategies for fighting entitlement, such as:
- Take a meaningful risk every week
- Find ways to minimize regret
- Grasp the value of keeping inconvenient commitments
- Understand why saying “I don’t know” is the first step toward success.
In a culture that encourages shortcuts and irresponsibility, The Entitlement Cure provides principles and skills to help you both navigate life with those around you who have an entitlement mindset and identify areas in your own life where you are stuck in “easy way” living. Dr. Townsend will show you how to become successful, resolve obstacles in life, and help those around you.