He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
For the past several years, I have been part of a Facebook Bible reading group. The 202 (currently) members of this group live all over the world and are involved in a variety of ministries. We read a chapter a day (determined by the group moderator) and are invited to briefly share how God spoke to us through the reading. We are also encouraged to share prayer requests with the group and encourage each other.
Often the thoughts I share in this blog and with my own Facebook group, Dr. G’s Morning Cup of Encouragement are expansions of what I read as a part of that group reading assignment. We usually read through Proverbs at least every other year, so thoughts on Proverbs show up in my writings. I wrote a book in 2013 called 30 Days of Wisdom based on 30 wise sayings from Proverbs 22-24.
Being a part of these online groups, as well some in-person groups, is an example of the truth of Proverbs 13:20. I am growing wiser and stronger by intentionally hanging out with people who are also on a journey toward growing wiser and stronger.
I have often quoted the phrase popularized by business leader Jim Rohn: “You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” There is always push back with that perspective, especially among those who are in “helping” professions.
The logic seems to run this way: “I am called [either by God or by something else, depending upon one’s faith perspective] to help those in need, especially those who can’t help themselves and can offer me nothing in return.”
I actually embrace that same calling.
What I don’t embrace is the illogical leap that results in a Messiah complex. My resources, energy, and wisdom are not unlimited. I am not self-sufficient. I need companions who are pouring into me so that I have the necessary resources to continue pouring into others.
Bottom line: Make sure you are spending more time with people who are where you want to be (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually) than you are with people who are where you used to be—those who fill your tank rather than those who drain it.
Sometimes that means spending time with them in person. Sometimes that means reading or listening to them. Sometimes that means being a part of something like the above mentioned Facebook groups or other possibilities that today’s technology provides.
For followers of Jesus, it always means spending time with Him in prayer, interaction with His word, and worship—and doing so both in private and in community. Our lives matter to God as much as those we seek to help. It is not either/or.
Who are the five people who are most influencing your journey right now?