By Joe Slater
I expect you’ve seen the title of this article practiced in reverse, as I have: “Use People; Love Things.” Sad, but true. King Solomon observed, “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor. But the rich has many friends” (Proverbs 14:20). Now, why would a poor man’s neighbors hate him? And why would a rich man have many friends? The poor man doesn’t have much to offer materially, so his neighbors can’t use him. The rich man’s “friends,” however, see opportunity to use him to their advantage. “Many entreat the favor of nobility, and every man is a friend to one who gives gifts” (Proverbs 19:6).
Solomon’s half-brother, Absalom used people to acquire the power he wanted. See how he buttered up the citizens who came to King David with legal issues: “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you . . . Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice” (2 Samuel 15:3-4). In short order, he conned them into proclaiming him king!
The Pharisees in John 8 used the woman taken in adultery to try to put Jesus into a dilemma. They cared nothing for her soul. All they wanted was to have an excuse to criticize the Lord. By contrast, Jesus loved her and sought her redemption.
The “good Samaritan” in Luke 10 loved his neighbor and used his money and other possessions to help him. Love people; use things. The man who had been robbed and beaten could do nothing materially for the Samaritan. But he needed help, and the Samaritan provided it.
As Jesus said, “Go and do likewise” (Lk. 10:37).
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com