Patronizing

Exodus 23:3
“Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.”

I was driving into the parking lot of my church one morning when I noticed a truck over by one of our buildings. I didn’t recognize the truck, so I went through the buildings to see if there was someone from my church who was doing some maintenance around the church. Because I couldn’t find anyone, I went over to the truck to see who it belonged to, and I saw a gentleman asleep on the seat. I knocked on the truck and asked the gentleman if I could help him, and he quickly awoke and apologized for being in our church parking lot. I began to talk to the man and invited him into my office, and several minutes later after giving him the Gospel, he bowed his head and received Christ as his Saviour.

After talking with him for awhile, I found out that he was a very educated man who had great talent but had come across some hard times in his life. What if I had looked down on him and asked him to leave the property at once; he would have never accepted Christ as his Saviour.

The ability to treat everyone the same in spite of their financial or positional status is a Christlike ability that every believer should emulate. The verse above warns the believer not to “countenance a poor man in his cause.” The word “countenance” means to patronize. God doesn’t want you to patronize people because you feel you are better than they. Several lessons should be learned from this admonition.

First, never patronize people because you think you are better than them. Let me make this clear; you are not better than anyone. There are many people who were saved from a rough background because they were born into a family that was already serving the LORD. Your family or financial background doesn’t make you better than others.

Second, never look down on people because you believe they are lower than you. Your positional status doesn’t make you better than those “below” you. You may hold a high positional title, but your title doesn’t make you better than those you lead. Every leader must be careful about acting as if you are better than others. Just because God allows you to lead doesn’t mean you are smarter, better, or of greater value than those under your leadership.

Third, never discount a cause just because someone is not “equal” to you. One thing you must guard against is not looking down on someone’s cause because you think they are not capable of doing it. One thing I have learned in life is that God is capable of using anyone in a cause. Just because someone doesn’t hold your title doesn’t make their cause inferior to yours.

Fourth, never let your treatment of others be dependent on their finances. You must be careful about treating people who are wealthy better than those who may be struggling financially. The person with little to nothing in their bank accounts is no better than the person with millions in their accounts. You must not patronize the poor just to get them “out of your hair.”

My friend, every person should be treated the same as if you don’t know who they are, or what they can financially do for you. Always remember that God is capable of taking care of you. You never know what will become of the poor or the rich. If you treat everyone with the same respect and attention, you’ll never be guilty of patronizing someone.

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