Give Me What I Deserve
And the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, but take the goods for yourself.” Genesis 14:21
As a physician there are a few different models of compensation: hourly pay, set salary, or production. I’ve been paid by each and in the jobs where I’ve seen more patients, I’ve preferred the production model. If I’m seeing more patients, I prefer to be paid for that work. In this model, the attitude is, Pay me what I’ve earned. When Covid-19 hit though, and our Urgent Care census dropped from over 100 patients a day to 10 patients a day, suddenly my attitude changed. Being paid by production during those first six months of Covid-19 would have meant I’d have gone to work every day for free. Give me what I deserve, quickly turned into, Please help! Suddenly, I didn’t want to get paid by what I was producing – next to nothing. Rather, I wanted to be compensated mercifully – in a way that had nothing to do with how much I was making for the company.
I’ve displayed this Give-me-what-I-deserve attitude with God. In my addiction, I felt he owed it to me to miraculously take my struggle away. I knew the deliverance that others had experienced, and I felt I deserved it too. Give me what I deserve. Then, when life fell apart and painful consequences rained down, suddenly, I didn’t want what I deserved. Then, I begged for mercy. Save me from what I deserve!
This Give-me-what-I-deserve attitude was on display in today’s passage. In the story, Sodom and Salem were sacked by an enemy who carried off everything and everyone. Lot – Abraham’s nephew – was among the captives and so Abraham responded, defeating the enemy, liberating Lot and everyone else. Melchizedek, the king of Salem, thanked Abraham and God. His posture was one of gratitude, and so Abraham shared with him the plunder. The unnamed king of Sodom though, displayed a very different posture – Give me what I deserve. Abraham gave him what was his, but for Sodom, their fate was sealed. Sodom was a place of great evil and just a few chapters later, we read how they got exactly what they deserved as the city was utterly destroyed.
Our attitude profoundly affects our future because our attitude before God determines how he addresses us. When we go to God with a Give-me-what-I-deserve attitude, he may often allow us to have what we deserve – which isn’t what we really want. When however, we daily approach God with gratitude – Thank you God for everything – then we place ourselves in a position for him to bless us. Entitlement or gratitude – those are our options and our posture before God often determines how he responds to us.