We live in a culture of entitlement. Entitlement can be defined as “an unrealistic, unmerited or inappropriate expectation of favorable living conditions and favorable treatment at the hands of others”. From the constant refrains of “I deserve, I deserve, I deserve”, I believe it is no stretch to say we are a people who think we have an endless list of rights. At its heart, it is idolatry and selfishness. When entitlement is our worldview, we care most about ourselves, have no concept of accountability, and believe we should get what we want when we want it. We speak of rights but not of responsibility. Furthermore, this entitlement mindset hinders and damages our relationships with God and others. As John Piper puts it, “An entitled mentality kills relationships.”
To be sure, this is not a new problem. As one of my college professors has put it, it has been an issue “ever since Genesis 3”. In regards to our topic, there we find God has given to us things like family and work. Yet, Satan has deceived us. He has tricked us into believing that God is not actually a good God and does not give us good gifts. No, the devil tells us we should feel entitled to be like God or even replace God, that this is what we deserve.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. God reveals to us in His written Word the only thing we deserve is His judgment because of our rebellion against Him (Romans 1:18-20, 32). The very truth of the gospel, that we have been saved by grace, shows that God gives us the very thing we don’t deserve. He entrusts it to us. In other words, He gives it to undeserved people and even lavishes it on them (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:8; 1 John 3:1). Therefore, rather than viewing life as entitled beings, we need to see ourselves from this entrusted mentality. We are not owners. Ultimately, we are stewards. This means we are held accountable and are responsible for things in life. In other words, it matters the way we live for Christ because He says to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48).
Looking at God’s view of life and ministry should transform the way we think and live. Stewardship, while often spoken of in context of finances, is so much bigger than money alone. The entitled mentality hurts relationships while the entrusted mindset restores relationships. Entitlement is built on selfishness. To be entrusted is to be held responsible and to think of others. The lie of entitlement drives the church into a prosperity gospel whereas an entrusted framework points God’s people to a grace-driven gospel. Case in point, an entitled life distorts the nature and character of God while the entrusted life displays the faithfulness and goodness of God. We must fight against an entitled mentality and live out God’s call to an entrusted life.
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