Proverbs 19:4

Wealth Makes Many Friends

 

Introduction:

1. Verses 4-6 of this chapter deal with the subject of friendships…

2. And in particular, Solomon speaks in these verses of the difference between TRUE and FALSE friendships.

3. Verse 4 speaks of the relationship between wealth and friends.

4. This is one of those proverbs which when you first read it, it seems to say one thing. But when you think about it, it actually says the opposite!

Wealth maketh many friends

1. Wealth Defined:

a. Strong’s: wealth; riches; substance; that which is of high value.

b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: possessions desirable in a society.

c. The term is used primarily of riches, wealth, possessions… but also can speak of anything highly prized or of great value.

2. Wealthy men MAKE many friends.

a. Make: add; increase; join; gain…

b. The term doesn’t mean that friends are actually MADE by the wealthy.

c. Rather, it means that friends INCREASE all around wealthy people.

d. When a person has lots of money—friends will increase… they will come out of the woodwork to be around you.

3. Wealthy men make MANY friends.

a. Many: much, many, a great number…

b. Not only will such friends increase… but they will GREATLY increase.

4. At first glance, this sounds like a great blessing for wealthy men. They will have lots of friends!

a. At first it might make a person a bit jealous of the wealthy.

b. At first we might wish that we were in their shoes. They not only have money, but they have LOTS of friends too!

c. We might even begin to sulk—poor me! I only have a couple of real friends—but the wealthy have MANY friends.

5. But when you stop to think about this statement a little more, it is NOT really a great blessing, but is more like a curse!

a. Note that it is not the MAN who makes all those friends, but his WEALTH makes friends!

b. Wealth makes the friends… not the man. The friends are attracted to the wealth.

c. That makes you wonder what KIND of friends they really are!
• If they are your friend because you are rich, that is a pretty shallow friendship.
• Chances are, their friendship is not just shallow, but entirely phony.
• These “so called” friends are only your friends for what they can GET out of the relationship.
• When a wealthy man thinks about this, he may begin to realize that these so called friends are more like leaches.
• And to attract MANY leeches is not such a blessing after all. It is a curse.
• Solomon no doubt wrote this proverb from his own sad experiences as a King…
• So don’t be jealous when you see lots of people following wealthy people around.
• Their so-called friends may not be what you think!

d. What a sad condition that really is.
• The spoiled little rich kid whom no one really likes, has to use his money to BUY friends!
• He has to buy the food… pay for the tickets… or he doesn’t get invited to go…
• As long as he keeps pulling out the wads of money, his so-called friends will cheer him on.
• But as soon as the money stops flowing… his friends disappear.
• Having to BUY friends is a miserable way to live.
• They flatter him and seek to be with him… but really only love what he has… not who he is.
• Don’t ever envy that!

6. And consider that the word wealthy can also refer to ANYTHING prized or valued by men.

a. It’s not just wealth that attracts men… but other things can attract so-called friends too.

b. It might be your POSITION.
• Being in a high position is something valued—highly prized by most men.
• And people in high positions often have many of these kinds of so-called friends.
• Everybody wants to be on the good side of the boss or the CEO.
• Everybody treats him with smiles and butters him up… but that kind of friendship often it’s not real.
• They might slander him behind closed doors—but to his face they are sweet as honey…
• And their so called friendship exists because they want to GET something out of that relationship… a raise… a promotion…
• Having MANY friends like that around you all day is not as desirable as it might at first appear.

c. It might be GOOD LOOKS and POPULARITY… celebrity status.
• People are attracted to wealthy men… but people are also attracted to those who are good looking and popular.
• Celebrities deal with this all day long.
• People want to be SEEN with a celebrity… but not because of genuine friendship. Often it is for selfish reasons.
• People want to hang out with those who are popular. But not always because of a genuine friendship. Often it is for selfish reasons: so that they might be part of the IN crowd…
• They USE popular people to advance their own status… so others will consider them to be part of the in crowd… one of the so called beautiful people.
• It’s all very shallow and phony—and celebrities know it.
• Their so-called friends that flock to be with them are often seen as leeches.
• Having MANY leeches is not such a blessing after all.

d. Solomon knew this all too well. He had it all: wealth, power, good looks, popularity, prestige. People must have FLOCKED to be around him.

7. Wealth makes many friends.

a. It sounds great at first.

b. But Solomon worded it such that you have to THINK about it.

c. Upon thinking about it… you come to another conclusion.

d. The lifestyle of the rich and famous—with all their so-called friends isn’t so great after all.

e. The rich and famous know it… painfully!

f. That’s why they live in their gated communities—to keep all of their so-called friends—who want to selfishly USE them… OUT!

But the poor is separated from his neighbour

1. In contrast to the wealthy, Solomon now speaks of the poor man.

a. This statement, like the first part of the proverb, seems to say one thing.

b. But when you think about it, it actually says the opposite!

2. The POOR man…

a. Poor here means lowly, weak, helpless.

b. It is often used of a man who is poor financially… in a lowly condition in society.

c. But like the word for wealth, it has broader application.

d. A man might be considered POOR financially when compared to a rich man. He is lowly.

e. A man might be considered lowly next to a man with an important SOCIAL status.

f. A man would be considered lowly next to a CELEBRITY or a popular person.

3. The poor man does NOT have many friends like the rich man.

a. The word translated “neighbor” is the SAME word as is translated “friends” in the first part of the proverb.

b. He is SEPARATED from his friends or neighbors.

c. Separated: divided; isolated; apart.

d. It is used of a river “splitting” into two…

e. Solomon states here that the poor man is DIVIDED from his neighbors… isolated from them… set apart from them.

f. Sadly, this is a fact of human nature.

4. Many people are embarrassed to be seen with a lowly person.

a. James had to rebuke believers for catering to the rich and famous and ignoring the poor. (James 2:1-4).

b. It is an age-old sin of partiality.

c. But like it or not, it is a reality… a sinful reality.

d. Everybody wants to flock towards the rich and famous. People always try to get their picture taken with a celebrity or politician—someone famous.

e. How many people flock to have their picture taken with a homeless man?

f. Prov. 19:7 – People seem to AVOID contact with the lowly… with the poor.

g. Prov. 14:20 – This is human nature.

5. Jesus said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart.”

a. Jesus experienced a period of popularity when the multitudes FLOCKED to be near Him.

b. But when they came—they usually came with selfish reasons: to be healed… to receive a free lunch.

c. But later, when He began teaching what it REALLY meant to follow Him… the crowds disappeared.

d. Only a few continued to follow Him.

6. People don’t flock to be with lowly people.

a. And this “lowliness” has application beyond just money and finances.

b. It could be applied to other forms of lowliness: a low status in society… someone who is not famous… someone who is not good looking and part of the IN crowd…

c. People don’t flock to those society considers lowly.

d. And that would be most of US. We don’t have any celebrities here…

e. Salem NH is not a popular meeting place for the rich and famous.

f. At first reading of this, it sounds pretty discouraging.

g. A lowly person—like us—will not attract the great crowds of friends that the rich and famous have.

h. And we could sulk over that: poor me!

7. But when we think about this proverb a little more—it’s not such a bad thing after all.

a. The kind of people who are seeking to USE YOU for their own selfish advantage will not flock to the lowly.

b. They only flock to the rich and famous… the high and lofty ones.

c. People who are attracted to the rich and famous for their riches and fame are usually NOT real friends. They are more like leeches.

d. Those kinds of people… phony friends… NEVER flock to be with the lowly.

e. Thus, a poor man may have only one or two friends as compared to the thousands others have.

f. However, the one or two friends that the poor man has are usually GENUINE… the real thing!

g. They are not attracted to you for your wealth, position, or fame. They are attracted to you for YOU.

h. That is true friendship.

i. One real friend is way better than 10,000 leeches.

j. And when our friends are few and far between, we can always rely on the Lord.

k. Ps. 40:17 – But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.

l. Rom. 8:38-39 – Poverty may separate us from our so called friends… but NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ!

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