Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour. – Proverbs 19:4
The love of money is the root of all evil. It causes men to make friendships based on financial gain rather than character. These are not real friendships, but relationships of greed and covetousness. When the money runs out, the friendship ends. Even neighbors, who should have a sense of duty to one another, will avoid and reject those who are poor.
Solomon made this observation for his son several times (Proverbs 14:20; 18:16; 19:6-7). Being the son of a rich king, he would have fawning leeches following him. He had to be wise and see through their facade of friendship to measure their character. Men of principle do not care about money or advantage; they are there for the long haul (Proverbs 17:17). Kings, and successful men, demand character to survive (Proverbs 25:4-5; Psalm 101:1-8; 144:11-15).
Financial success, by itself, is not an accurate measure of a man. There are too many factors contributing to riches other than character and ability. There are rich fools, and there are poor wise men. Time and chance happens to them all (Eccl 9:11). Be instructed: a poor wise man is far superior to a rich fool (Proverbs 19:1; 28:6; Ecclesiastes 4:13; 9:13-16).
Consider two Bible examples of how wealth affects friendships. Job, once very rich, complained how his most intimate friends and family members had forsaken him in his horrible poverty and trouble (Job 19:8-19). But Jonathan, the prince of Israel, the greatest example of a friend, gave up his lofty position and great riches to befriend the poor shepherd David (I Samuel 18:1-4; 20:30). True friends are not influenced by wealth at all.
Do not love others for what they can do for you. Jesus said, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbours; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14). Merely loving those who love you is unacceptable (Luke 6:32).
Jesus Christ, Who was very rich, became poor to befriend and save poverty-stricken wretches, that they might become rich by His poverty (II Cor 8:9). Here is friendship unknown to natural men. Here is the unspeakable gift of the gospel. Those who know Jesus Christ will easily burn themselves out serving those who cannot pay (II Corinthians 12:15).
Source: Culled from SALM’s article in the Chronicle newspaper.