Proverbs 19:4

Wealth brings many new friends,
But a poor man is deserted by his friend.

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.

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