Will Plonk, the lead pastor at Grace City Church in Charleston, SC and former student in Clemson FCA, joined us this Thursday to shed light on the topic of entitlement. Plonk explored the question: Is it a bad thing to be entitled and build on the generation before us? Entitlement is something that can be a thief of our joy at times, but it is also something that also can allow us to be in wonder of the One who is rightfully entitled.
In Exodus, we learn that after the Israelites have been enslaved for over 400 years, God takes them out and has a promise for them. He miraculously provides them food called manna every single morning throughout their 40-year travel through the desert.
Moving into Numbers, we read that the Israelites begin to wail and complain “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” (Numbers 11: 4-6 ESV). This that they now long for was given to them in Egypt because they were enslaved and had no freedom. We see the Israelites forgetting the provision that God has for them through the manna that He provides. Later in Numbers 21 the Israelites question God and wish that they were back in Egypt.
We see here through the Israelites that routine without thanksgiving fuels entitlement. When we have entitlement in our hearts, things that are blessings can become expected. This causes us to seek outward and long for a thrill, rather than seek the One who gave us these miraculous blessings.
In Matthew 20: 1-16 we learn about a landowner who throughout the day hires more people to work in his vineyard, promising them all the same pay. At the end of the day the landowner pays the workers all the same, and the ones that were hired early are full of complaining as they have worked longer. The early workers look around, covet others, and become discontent.
It is in Matthew 20 that we see that comparison fuels entitlement. The workers were content with the pay that they were to receive until they looked around at the pay of their fellow workers. It is when we are content with our situation and do not compare ourselves to others that we are filled with joy, as there is an inverse relationship between joy and entitlement.
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6).
Jesus is the one and only one who was rightfully entitled. He did not take this entitlement and pull it to Himself, rather He took His privilege and leveraged it for our benefit. Things that we often feel entitled to in our lives such as our athletic ability or intelligence we have done nothing to deserve, as things are given to us. One thing that we as Christians are called to do is to take our privilege and leverage that to serve others. When we leverage our privilege to serve others, we are in a deficit and are in need to receive from God. With the goal being to become more dependent and needy on Jesus Christ, it is essential that we serve others and thank God for what he has given us.
Take 15 minutes this week and write 20 things that you define as a right but is really the grace of God.