Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Proverbs 19:4,6-7 A Friend in Need?

Wealth brings many new friends,

    but a poor man is deserted by his friend. . . 
Many seek the favor of a generous man,

    and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
All a poor man's brothers hate him;

    how much more do his friends go far from him!

He pursues them with words, but does not have them. (Proverbs 19:4, 6-7 ESV)

How we love our celebrities! The latest “American Idol” was chosen last week. The life of Candace Glover has been forever changed, as she joins the group of those who walk red carpets! People will now be seeking her out, asking for her autograph, and wanting to be near her. We fawn over those who have “made it!” But we also are very fickle, and we will run from a person when he hits the skids.

Our verses remind us today of our tendency to give preference to the wealthy, those from whom we stand to gain something. Being a “friend” to a wealthy person can have all kinds of perks. Maybe we can get an invitation to his vacation getaway mansion, or join him at a premiere event, or dine with him at the fancy restaurant, knowing he’ll pick up the tab. Would we be as enamored of this person if the money went away? Do we seek out the company of those who have lost everything?

Jon Courson reminds us of a saying: you can judge a man’s character by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. Do you remember how the Pharisees scorned Jesus for the company He kept? Jesus did not seek an audience with King Herod, and when He actually was forced to stand before Herod, Jesus said nothing to him. Jesus preferred the company of sinners, paupers, the lepers, the blind, the harlot. He was the friend of the needy. But He wasn’t a “reverse snob,” either. He engaged in dialogue with Nicodemus, Jairus, and the Roman centurion. It wasn’t social standing that moved Jesus. It was need.

Today’s verses remind us that we need to be mindful of the company we keep. Are we seeking out those from whom we can gain something (a better job, an advance up the social ladder, a link to “important people”)? Or do we seek out those in need, regardless of what they can offer? Do we turn away from those who are seeking something from us?

LORD, examine our hearts. Soften them to those in need. Teach us to look at those around us with your eyes. Protect us from the mindset of the world that loves “idols.”  

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