By “Butch” West
These days we hear a lot about the evils of the poor and how they have an entitlement mentality. We also hear about the evils of the rich, and how they are supposedly all greedy, got their riches by greed.
In both scenarios, neither conclusion is always true. With both the rich and poor you get the good and the bad. There are poor people who do have an entitlement mentality and there are greedy rich people. But there are also very honest and very hard working Rich people and very honest and very hard working poor people.
Sometimes what poor people expect is regarded as an entitlement attitude even when it is not that person’s intent. Likewise, a situation for a Rich person may be regarded as greed when it is not that person’s intent.
Actors are one example of Rich people earning their money. Professional sports players are another. An example of someone getting rich in a wrong manner would be a bank robber. But there is a kind of legalized stealing that makes some people rich, a different kind of bank robber, where the bank does the robbing. Another example of dishonest gain would be the Mafia. Some businesses are legitimate and others are not. And both can be in the same profession. Lawyers are an example of this. Some have genuine concern for their clients and some are shysters. Examples of this can be found in every profession including doctors, journalists, and even preachers.
The problem with greed is not that a person has a lot of money, but how one achieved that financial success. The problem with entitlement is not that a person has little or no money, but the attitude of entitlement.
Rich and Poor can work together side by side and both can be content, satisfied and happy. Whether rich or poor the problem is not in the amount of wealth one does or does not possess. The problem and the solution is attitude. An attitude of “woe is me” does not endear the poor person to anyone of any wealth. An attitude of “I’m better than you because of what I have” does not endear a rich man to many people. An attitude of “What can I do to help you” can be had by both rich and poor. It helps both.
The Bible book of Proverbs says, “The Rich and poor meet together, the Lord is the maker of them both.”[i]
Many of today’s rich people were once poor, and may still have poor relatives. Many of today’s poor people have hopes, dreams, a proper attitude and may one day be rich, and get there honestly. We can both learn from each other. Being poor does not make one a “loser” and being wealthy does not make one a “winner”. Our attitudes towards each other are more important than what we do or don’t possess in the way of wealth or material things. Well, God made us both, so why not work together to serve him and help others? Not with an attitude of “I’m so needy” or an attitude of “I’m so good” but with the humility to serve our Lord Jesus Christ by serving and ministering to one another’s needs and desires. Not in the spirit of “giving to the rich” which will lead to poverty, but in the spirit of helping where there is a need, and yes, the rich have needs, too. Like all of us, they need Christ, they need companionship, and they need to belong to a family of Christians, so whether rich or poor, welcome everyone willing with open arms into the service of the kingdom.
[i] Prov. 22:2 KJV