“Know When To Hold Em – Know When To Fold Em!”
“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”
It was the summer of 1978 when Country Western singer Kenny Rogers’ album The Gambler soared to the top of country and pop charts. The song itself was about a warm summers evening on a train “bound to nowhere”. Rogers met an unamed old man that was a gambler. The old man apparently had wisdom gained throughout the years that allowed him to look into Rogers eyes and see that he was down on his luck. The gambler offered Rogers seasoned advice for his last swallow of whiskey. He took the shot down, lit a cigarette and began to speak: “You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you are sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin when the dealing is done.” The gambler then shared that his secret to survival was knowing what to throw away and what to keep.
It would be outrageous, even supercilious, to limit God’s teachable moments to music that we hear in church. God can baptize the lips of a Country Western singer with a simple story line about a Gambler on a train bound to nowhere to convey biblical truths. The man on the train was a wise gambler bound to nowhere but the man in the text was a wise king whose words live on into eternity.
Solomon gives us wise advice on how to avoid friendship trains that are bound to nowhere. The truth is, many of us nurture and invest in relationships that have no virtue, no vision or no victory. Listen to Solomon’s words: “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” As we take a real look at our relationships there are 3 things to consider:
- Consider The Description of Caution: What relationships do you nurture with persons who are angry about life? Solomon described a person who is angry and furious. The word for “angry” is the Hebrew word “ap” and it means short-tempered. The Hebrew word for furious is “hema” and it describes a person who is constantly in a state of anger. Solomon says avoid them! They flare up at the drop of a dime so don’t take a walk with them, don’t do business with them, don’t go on vacation with them, don’t visit them, don’t seek their company or court their conversation, and for Christ’s sake don’t seek their advice! Wow! Harsh advice. Why Solomon?
- Consider The Devastating Corruption: “Lest thou learn his ways:” If you continue this relationship it will corrupt you! Those whom we go with we are apt to grow like. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” What is the conclusion?
- Consider The Dangerous Conclusion: “and get a snare to thy soul.” A snare metaphorically is something that allures one from his real purpose and then destroys him. Our souls are valuable to God and our relationships should strengthen the soul. Philia Ophelema Psukis are Greek words meaning, “Friendship is essential to the soul.” The wrong relationships can be detrimental to your soul and divert you from your destiny and place you on a friendship train bound to nowhere!
Here it is! There is no human relationship worth sacrificing your soul and spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. When one accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, they establish the most important relationship their soul will ever know. What a friend we have in Jesus! At the end of the day, we must give careful consideration to the relationships that we nurture and make investments. We must be led by the Spirit of God as to what role we should play in our relationships with others and what role others play in their relationship with us. Friends, there are some relationships that come to last and others that come to pass. So, love hard! Laugh often! Live wisely in your relationships! Know when to hold em, and know when to fold em! Don’t get caught on a friendship train bound to nowhere!
On The Train Bound To Glory!
Dr. Oscar T. Moses