“Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him…A poor man is shunned by all his relatives–how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.”
~Proverbs 19:4, 7
I guess I’ve always thought of the Proverbs as good advice for us to follow, but as I read these verses, I know that isn’t always the case. Instead, these verses are telling us the sad but true reality. Of course, it is more fun to hang around people who have great wealth and things that they can share with us. But is the friendship really sincere? We humans get so caught up in our stuff so many times, it’s crazy. I’m not saying that having wealth is a bad thing, but we do need to examine ourselves daily to see whether we are getting too caught up in it.
These verses are true in saying that a poor man’s friends desert him. After serving the homeless on a mission trip to San Francisco, California last summer, that fact has become more real to me. We shared hot chocolate and sack lunches with the homeless, and we sat and talked with them. We had to force ourselves to overlook the fact that they were dirty and smelly on the outside, which is what most more well-to-do people tend to focus on. Really, they are just the same as us.
When we sat and talked with them, they shared their lives with us. They were always friendly and talkative; they were starved for attention, sitting on the sidewalk day after day receiving hardly a glance from anyone passing by. In the past, they may have been popular, enjoying parties and laughter with friends…but they were not true friends. When all their money was spent and they ended up on the street, their friends deserted them.
Another thing we noticed while sharing God’s love with these people was that they rarely if at all talked about their families. They would share openly about almost anything, but when the subject of their families was brought up, they seemed to close up. I can’t imagine being shunned by my own family and friends because of some wrong choices. These people were at a loss. Perhaps that is why they were so receptive to the gospel.
An organization called Youth With a Mission (YWAM) is constantly bringing in young people to go out and share God’s love with these hurt and lonely people. Many of them that I talked to had already accepted Jesus, and I was amazed at their faith. They literally have to rely on Him to be fed daily. I could go on and on about the trip, but I think I’m slightly getting off subject here. :) The point I’m trying to make is that we should treat everyone the same. We all make mistakes, and in God’s eyes sin is sin no matter what it is.
“…Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7c