Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!
There is a group of about 15-20 very successful Christians where I live that are always on people’s list that need to raise money for ministry and/or politics. I have taken to calling them “the usual suspects” and after getting to know many of them fairly well I can tell that they have become very discerning about the motives behind people’s attempts to befriend them…as well they should according to today’s verse.
Most of us are not the “big donor” type for obvious reasons so I’m going to focus on how you and I treat people of means, be them financial, influential, or both. The bible warns us repeatedly about the sin of favoritism (Acts 10; Romans 2; James 2) and for good reason – it reduces people to objects and denies the intrinsic value of each and every person regardless of their net worth of network. Have you ever maneuvered past the regular folks in the room to get to the players? Have you ever flattered someone of means in order to curry favor? I know I have.
If you happen to be a person of means and/or influence, I’m confident that you have experienced the essence of this proverb personally. God has blessed you with your finances as well as your reach and you are called to use that for His Kingdom and to bless your brothers and sisters in Christ that are in need. However, you are also called to be discerning about the people who approach you for help in order to show good stewardship and to be a defender of God’s Truths regarding partiality.
As for the rest of us, we need to check our hearts before we attempt to befriend the rich and powerful people in our lives. Are you trying to curry favor in order to enrich yourself or your cause? Would you care as much about those individuals if they had nothing to offer you other than their friendship? Does your friendship turn cold when the well of someone else’s riches runs dry? We need to be friends that love unconditionally rather than “friends” who merely seek a favor or a buck.