Chazal state Sonay Matana Yichiya (one who hates gifts will live) What is the message behind this chazal? Should one always turn down gifts or is this chazal referring to a specific situation.
Several ideas are present in this statement.
One idea is that a person should be reliant on Hashem, and not on people who sustain him with gifts.
Another idea is that a person should not receive gifts, because this will make him to some degree subservient to them. A way of gaining control over a person is to shower him with gifts.
We have discussed the halachic aspect of this matter at some length here: https://dinonline.org/2011/11/18/gifts-in-halachah-to-hate-or-to-accept/.