“He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live” Proverbs 15:27 KJV
When I read this verse all kinds of thoughts began running through my head. The verse’s intent is to show that those that are all about what they can gain in any way they can (including illegally) will bring trouble to themselves and those that are unwilling to accept bribery for such things will instead prosper. (refer to John’s Gills Exposition for further explanation of this verse). As I read the bible I often have other thoughts of the verse that can still be applied. What I read in this verse is greed and entitlement. Let me explain...
You will destroy yourself and those around you if all you think about is everything you want and everything you don’t have. The “got to have it and I will do whatever it takes to get it” attitude. Greed is not just about desiring the world. It can also be the mentality of never having enough and not thankful for what you do have.
The second half of the verse is what got me thinking the most. At first glance, it would appear that we should not accept gifts and we should hate them. We know this isn’t the case because salvation and grace is a gift. So obviously receiving gifts is not wrong. I explained earlier what it means but I saw something else in this verse as well. I think it addresses the “entitlement” attitude. In other words, the world/God owes me something and I should be given every bit of it. I think it’s about correcting that mindset to one that understands that no one owes you anything and that you should not expect to be given your every desire “just because”.
We see this issue everywhere these days and it is scary. So many thinking they have to do nothing to get everything and that they are entitled to what others have because the other people have more than they “need”. Well, technically that attitude as existed since the beginning of creation. Adam and Eve’s action of eating fruit because they felt entitled to it even though God said they couldn’t have it. Then we know of Cain who murdered his brother Abel because he felt he was entitled to God’s approval and was angry that God approved of Abel and not him. Entitlement can lead to some horrific behavior. I could continue listing some modern day issues of entitlement but I think you can come to those conclusions on your own if you give it any moment of thought.
How much better would life be without this negative attitude? When you realize that any “living” you are going to be doing is through the actions you take rather than the actions of others or the “stuff” they give you, it is very empowering. You no longer feel like the world has forgotten you. You no longer depend on the opinion of others. You no longer have to live up to someone else’s expectations just so they will give you something. Not even God’s expectations because following His expectations also do not warrant us to be "entitled" to anything. Our gain is through the blood of Jesus Christ and saving relationship with Him. Although, we should always strive to live up to God's expectations because ultimately He is the only one who can truly reward us or chastise us for our actions. OUR actions though, not the actions of others.
It is time we all take responsibility for ourselves instead of blaming others for what goes on or what we don’t have. We have a choice, we have the ability, and we have no excuses. As long as the attitude of entitlement is held on to the world around us will continue to be troubled. Take the time today to reflect on your life and attitude to find the areas of entitlement you have. I promise you will find them! We are all guilty of it is some form or another.