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For the Good of The Church, Check Your Entitlement

11.09.2023

7M

Introduction

In 1877, J.C. Ryle wrote in his book Holiness, “There is a vast quantity of so called Christianity nowadays which you cannot declare positively unsound, but which, nevertheless, is not full measure, good weight, and sixteen ounces to the pound. It is a Christianity in which there is undeniably something about Christ… but it is not the real thing as it is in the Bible…” 

One thing that muddies the water of modern Christianity is entitlement. It’s the priority of self. It’s serving to be seen. It’s the disciples walking with Jesus towards the cross, arguing over who is the greatest and missing who was in front of them. If left unchecked, this spirit of entitlement will breed comparison, insecurity, divisiveness, and spiritual exhaustion leading to burnout. 

Rather, the Scriptures make clear that we are to forgo a spirit of entitlement as we realize that God has entrusted his great promises to us. Living entrusted helps counter the lies of entitlement and helps us celebrate others, live secure, be unified, and find fulfillment and rest in Christ. 

In this article, we will examine the key differences between living entitled and living entrusted. To do so, we’ll look to Numbers 16. 

“Now Korah… took 2 two hundred fifty prominent Israelite men who were leaders of the community and representatives in the assembly, and they rebelled against Moses. They came together against Moses and Aaron and told them, “You have gone too far! Everyone in the entire community is holy, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the LORD’s assembly?” When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers, “Tomorrow morning the LORD will reveal who belongs to him, who is set apart, and the one he will let come near him. He will let the one he chooses come near him. Korah, you and all your followers are to do this: take firepans, and tomorrow place fire in them and put incense on them before the LORD. Then the man the LORD chooses will be the one who is set apart. It is you Levites who have gone too far!” 

Numbers 16:1-7

The story goes on to make clear that Moses was the one called by God while Korah and his followers were swallowed up by the earth (Numbers 16:22-48). Five key takeaways rise to the surface in response to this text. 

1.Entitlement is the fruit of a low view of God. Walking entrusted is the expression of a God-sized view of God.

An inflated view of self starts with a deflated view of God. We see this in the difference between Korah & Moses. In the story, Korah’s low view of God expressed itself in his rising up. Yet, Moses, in view of the Almighty, fell facedown. They had different standards of holiness because they had different views of God.

In a day where it’s celebrated to fight for what we think we deserve, Scripture tells a different story. In view of the beauty of Christ, God’s people are compelled to live in humility. We will serve wherever, whoever, and however long because in living before God, we’ve made our lives about God. We’ve found the One who life is about—and it’s not us. Walking as those entrusted must begin with a high view of God and freedom from self. 

2.Entitlement obsesses over position. Walking entrusted is expressed in contentment regardless of position. 

Korah wanted the position of Moses, so he wrongfully accused his motives. Take note of how Moses responds. He doesn’t clap back. He doesn’t defend himself. He submits to the authority of the Lord. He defers to God’s judgment, not his own. Moses was content to be wherever the Lord placed him, whether low or high. His goal was God, not a position.

Our job titles are getting longer. Our profiles are growing. It’s easier than ever to be concerned about what position we have. Yet, God doesn’t seem to take the same interest that we do with our titles. Paul’s job title was tentmaker, but his assignment was to be an Apostle. Luke’s job title was doctor, but his assignment was to be a Gospel author and missionary. Mary’s job title was stay-at-home mom, but her assignment was to carry Christ into the world. We know these people, and many more, not because of their titles and positions but because they said yes to their assignments. Chances are the people who have made the biggest impact in your life aren’t those with the longest titles but those who said yes to the Lord in investing in your life. Don’t obsess over position; be content to walk in the assignment God’s given you. 

3.Entitlement focuses on growing a following. Walking entrusted focuses on following faithfully. 

“Korah’s followers” are referred to 3 different times in this chapter. It’s interesting that nowhere in the Bible is it said that Moses had followers. Moses was a follower. His obedience was emphasized. His goal was not to gain followers but to see those entrusted to Him follow the Lord. Moses viewed leadership as being before God on behalf of his people, but Korah viewed leadership as being above people. There is a thin line but a drastic difference between these two kinds of leadership. To walk entrusted, the goal must be helpfulness over impressiveness. 

4.Entitlement grumbles. Walking entrusted is expressed in intercession. 

Korah rose and complained, but Moses fell and prayed. The truth is, the Lord is more concerned about many of our problems than we are. We can talk to him about them. We know our boss’ boss. We have access to the Almighty. Pray to Him. The highest power does not lie in the meetings of leaders and the elite but in the authority of the King. Oswald Chambers says it well when he writes, “God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.”

5.Entitlement is concerned with what we deserve. Walking entrusted is concerned with what’s best for our people. 

When God proved Moses to be the leader of the people, the Israelites still grumbled against him. Even when the Lord crushed Korah and his followers, the people treated Moses and Aaron poorly. What was their response? Moses loved those who spoke against him. He forgave them and fought for their good. 

How can we love those who mistreat us? How can we be faithful when what we do goes unseen? How can we do good to those who don’t like us?

By looking to our true High Priest. His name is Jesus. Jesus is the greater Moses. He is the One who was not entitled but walked entrusted for us.

  1. Jesus had a proper view of God and made a way for us to come to the Father.
  2. Jesus didn’t obsess over position. He gave up his position so we could have position with Him.
  3. Jesus never grumbled but lived to intercede for His people.
  4. Jesus didn’t get what He deserved but embraced what we deserved because He was concerned with what was best for us. 

We don’t have to be like Korah; we know Jesus. We don’t have to fight for us, He fights for us. His love frees us from us and invites us to walk with Him. Here, in his love, we can walk as those entrusted and not become entitled. 

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Scripture References

  • Numbers 16:1-7
  • Numbers 16:22-48
Jonathan Pickens Jonathan Pickens leads the Student Ministry for Passion City Church Cumberland. He graduated from the University of Georgia and is currently finishing his Masters in Theology from Dallas Seminary. He lives in Marietta with his wife, Mary, and their daughter Rae. He loves anything outdoors, time with family, and the church.