Let me take you on a journey, a journey from the entitled to the entrusted. This journey is yours, mine, and ours. While much of what is entailed are my own experiences, you may resonate with a few, and we all can learn from them. By no means do I suggest I have completed the journey, there is a long way to go for certain. My hope is to help those who come after me on this journey and perhaps even to hear from those who have gone before me. The road from the entitled to the entrusted is long, rough, and has many switchbacks and setbacks along the way.
To begin the journey, we have to understand what “entitled” really means. Google definitions has this to say, “Entitled: believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment” (Google). Much of my life has been lived with varying degrees of entitlement; as a child I was the center of my own world and therefore expected all I wanted would come to me. Now I am older, not all of my childish ways are gone from me. I still felt entitled to have the things my parents had worked hard for: cars, home, TV, cellphone; only I should not have to work for it like they did.
No, I did not want to work hard for those things, I wanted them all right now. Twenty plus years later, here I am sitting under a pile of debt, trying to “out earn my stupidity” as Dave Ramsey says. Borrowing from the banks, aka the rich, has made me a slave. As Proverbs tried to warn me, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
The truth is we all face issues of entitlement. For some it is small things like, “I am entitled to eat a doughnut (or two, or three), I worked hard for it”. Many of us have bigger entitlements, from the cars we drive to the opinions we hold. Worst part of being one of the entitled is the selfishness of it; it can so drive us we will gladly sacrifice others needs to satisfy ourselves.
My drive for entitlement has left a wake behind me which years later the waves are still hitting the shores and bouncing back at me. Armchair philosophy and justification run rampant in my entitled life. There have been times my wants have trampled over the needs of my family, friends, and community at large. As a salesman I can attest, though I am generally honest, I have failed from time to time to put the customers needs before my own. I am broken, selfish, and prideful.
Oh, yes, pride is a part of the world of entitlement. In fact, pride is at the very core of the entitled life. Pride is what drives the desire to place our needs over those of others. The competitiveness I have is driven by pride to “be better” than the other guy, it also drives the vanity which follows success. We were warned about this too: “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit” (Philippians 2:3a). The wake is wide, and the waves are high.
The Turn About
What happens when the bubble breaks, the job market changes, income is lost, and the house of cards begins to fall? Or we are confronted by those we have hurt in our quest for selfish desires? When we hit a wall which forces us to see our flaws? Answer: We are faced with a deciding moment; we can justify and jockey for a new position, or we can make a change. We can continue in our selfishness and follow the path of the entitled a bit further or begin to shift toward accepting we have been entrusted.
Let us go back to definition again, what does entrusted mean? Google would define entrusted as the past participle of entrust, “assign the responsibility for doing something to (someone) or put (something) into someone’s care or protection” (Google). Therefore, entrusted would then mean “having been given the responsibility for something or for doing something”. In my life I have been entrusted with many things; leading a family, children, a church. At work I have been entrusted with the keys to the building and code for the safe and the responsibility to lead my teammates.
When we are entrusted we have been given some authority over the people and things in our care. We can be entrusted with small things such as a single bag of coins (Matthew 25:14-28); or a great many things like guiding a kingdom (Genesis 41:41-56). If we are strong enough and do well with the things we are entrusted, we can hope to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 24:21).
The Journey Continues
Without a doubt I seek those words “well done”, but I know I am still on the journey. My pride still shows its ugly head now and then. My self-righteousness and entitlement run deep at times, but with Jesus as my compass, hope remains. Jesus gives me hope I will finish the race not in pride nor for a crown which does not last (1 Corinthians 9:24-26), but for a greater kingdom than this world can ever offer. I pray my journey ends well. Furthermore it is my deepest hope and prayer this telling of it helps you along your journey as well.
What are the areas in your life you feel the most entitled?
When did you first start the journey from entitled to entrusted? Or is it time to start?
How can Jesus’ examples help you on the journey toward the entrusted?