An entitlement mentality is one of the significant hindrances people can experience along their journey to build wealth. What is entitlement? Essentially, entitlement is a deep belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. It can result in greed and myopic thinking. Entitlement mentalities are sneaky. We can fall into them without realizing it. Many people who have done well financially reach a cap because they feel entitled to their wealth. Accruing resources for “my four and no more” isn’t good enough motivation to reach your potential. We need a Kingdom mindset to have the energy, perspective, and willingness to risk that building transformative wealth requires.
That’s why Deuteronomy 8:17-18 is such a core passage:
“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”
So, we must realize that God gives us the power to get wealth. Everything we have is God’s. As the psalmist wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” (Psalm 24:1) If everything is the Lord’s, He probably has a pretty good idea of how we can use our resources.
What is Entitlement? A Biblical Example
The book of Joshua details the Israelites’ entrance into the Promised Land. The first city they took over was Jericho. Before they entered the land, they stood on the other side of the Jordan River, and God gave them specific instructions about how they were to take over the city. For seven days, they were to march around Jericho, which was surrounded by walls, and God promised to deliver the city into their hand.
On the seventh day, right before they received victory, Joshua cautioned, “But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.” (Joshua 6:18-19)
The Hebrew word for devoted is cherem, and it is defined as “a doomed object; things which should have been utterly destroyed.” By getting rid of the devoted things, the Israelites wouldn’t profit from battle or attach themselves to unholy goods. Unfortunately, one Israelite let his greed and entitlement get the best of him.
“But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully and violated their obligation in regard to the things [off limits] under the ban [those things belonging to the Lord], for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban [for personal gain]. Therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the Israelites. (Joshua 7:1 AMP)
Achan felt entitled to the devoted things. I imagine that his thought process was something like “well, I fought the battle, so I deserve the reward.” However, we know from the scriptures that this wasn’t the case. So, what is entitlement? It’s thinking that your actions and prayers entitle you to money, opportunities, etc.
Because of Achan’s theft, the Israelites lost their next battle to the tiny town of Ai. Thirty-six Israelites died, and Achan was killed for his sin. Now, that won’t happen today (how many of you are thankful for grace?) However, I believe there is some money in your life with an assignment on it. The money is devoted to God, and He has plans to transform you and others through your obedience.
To inherit the land, Israel had to be obedient. When they weren’t, their enemies overtook them. Similarly, obedience is the key to the life God has for us today.
What is Entitlement in Terms of Giving and Receiving?
The Bible says that when we give, we receive. However, there’s a misconception in the Body of Christ about how we receive. In other words, we don’t understand how the money comes. Oftentimes, people give with strings attached. They give with an entitlement mentality. (This is different from hopeful expectation because it stems from a lack of recognizing that everything we have already belongs to God.)
People think that God will drop money on their heads like ripe cherries off a tree just because they give their tithes and offerings. Whereas God will provide us with supernatural resources like He gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness, more often than not, we receive in the land He has for us. In other words, we give, and then God gives us resources to continue to do work that serves others and gives Him glory.
2 Corinthians 9 says it this way: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (v. 8) […] “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” (v. 11)
So, God gives to us, we give to others, and God gives to us so that we can give to others again. It’s a beautiful cycle, and entitlement isn’t a part of the equation. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to give God as many vessels as possible to bless so that I can bless others. That’s kingdom finances—doing the work to create businesses, nonprofits, investments, and other opportunities so that you can be generous on every occasion. We need to develop a transactional aptitude so that we can increase our transformational impact.
3 Ways to Eliminate Entitlementalities
- Remember, everything you have is the Lord’s. Are you living wisely and open handedly?
- Consider the resources in your life. Ask God, “Do you have an assignment for this money? This time? This talent?”
- Give tithes (10%) and first fruit offerings if you don’t know where to begin.
Billy, thanks for this – so sound, right word at these times when I am tempted to consider money in an unhelpful perspective. Through lense of world shortages and ‘what if’s’.
Your writings are a real encouragement to me. Thank you for making me stop, think and do differently.