Wealth attracts many friends,
but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
If the writer of this proverb had access to quotation marks in his day, he would have added them around “friends” and “friend.” In each instance the friends are nothing of the sort. The friends of the wealthy person hang about to get what they can. The poor person has but one other person willing to “be a friend.” Such a friend is obviously not hanging about to share in the wealth, but he is a “fair-weather” friend, the kind of person who will not be dependable. Indeed, he will desert his poor friend as soon as he thinks the poor man wants something from him.
Are there true friends? Yes, but such friends are cultivated. The bonds of friendship are forged through sharing experiences and through learning to give-and-take with each other. And one more ingredient is necessary – the friend himself must have integrity, at least regarding the friendship. A trusted friend must be trustworthy. And, again, that trustworthiness can only be tested through experience.
How do you find such a friend? The most sure way is to cultivate trustworthiness in your own heart. It is more difficult than it may seem, for your own trustworthiness is purified through the fires of trials.
Give thanks for our Friend, Jesus Christ, who walked into the fire of trial to demonstrate his trustworthiness and to make us trustworthy.
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us[b]? 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”[c]
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[d] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Boasting About Tomorrow
13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.