1 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.
4 Wealth attracts many friends,
but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
6 Many curry favor with a ruler,
and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.
7 The poor are shunned by all their relatives—
how much more do their friends avoid them!
Though the poor pursue them with pleading,
they are nowhere to be found.
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
Proverbs 19:1, 4, 6-7, 17
We start with the esteem for the poor whose walks is blameless, and then we see that the advantage of the blameless poor is shortlived. Their righteousness may be better and blessed, yet even the closest friend of the poor deserts them. That’s sad.
Of course, this is a statement about how fickle the world is, rather than the quality of friendship the poor offer. As the champagne and fine meals flow, the wealthy have many friends. When the gravy train dries up, the hangers-on move on.
They weren’t really friends to begin with. They were riders on the coat-tail of the gift giver. If you are a generous wealthy person, you probably don’t need this warning. It’s evident in front of your face most of the time. Are they here because they like me or is it because of my money?
Now think of the poor person, who feels shunned and avoided. Even if they want friends and pursue people, they are often left alone. Which is where the follower of God should enter the scene. Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord. That’s a wonderful metaphor.
We do God’s work and we please our Lord when we extend a hand of help and friendship to the less fortunate. And by the way, you might just find you actually like them. Whodathunk?