Summary: If you desire to be among the prestigious members of society, you have to pay a steeper price than meets the eye; to climb socially, you may have to drop spiritually. Yet there are a few other reasons to question social climbing.

The Personal Price Tag of Being A Social Climber

(Proverbs 23:1-8)

1. In her book, The Overspent American, Harvard professor Juliet Schor informs us most people are concerned about social status, but they live in denial.

2. She claims they rationalize to themselves they need a new car because their current car will need repair soon. They need a house with a gourmet kitchen because then they will eat out less often. The real issues are often status and perhaps matching a picture from Gourmet Magazine.

3. The smoking gun of status seeking is overspending.

4. Today, as we tackle another chapter in the Book of Proverbs, the theme seems to be one related to status-seeking, namely social climbing.

5. Jesus and the NT authors warn us repeatedly that we cannot serve God and mammon, that friendship with the world is enmity with God.

Main Idea: If you desire to be among the prestigious members of society, you have to pay a steeper price than meets the eye; to climb socially, you may have to drop spiritually. Yet there are a few other reasons to question social climbing.

I. You Are Sentenced to “Working” MEALS, Often With People You Do Not Enjoy (1-3, 6-8)

A. Eating with the Big SHOTS (1-3)

1. Many of you remember the TV series, Bewitched. Every week, it seemed, advertisement specialist Daren Stevens had to entertain a prospective client at dinner. His wife, Samantha, prepared the meal. Every week.

2. Sometimes we might all be called to eat with the rich or powerful. Solomon’s advice is good: be reserved

• Be restrained about how much you eat; Be reserved at what you say

• Setting yourself up for “one hand washes the other” & exchanging favors

• Because they are cozy with you does not mean you can be cozy with them

• Because they tease you, you do not have a right to tease them in return

• You have to be guarded, you cannot be yourself

3. And therein lies the problem: you cannot relax and be yourself very often if you are into impressing others… you are therefor in bondage, a perpetual actor

B. Associating with people you would rather not ASSOCIATE with (6-8)

1. A miser who is so cheap, he is calculating the cost of every bite you take

2. The food you eat, you vomit up (perhaps spoiled); also might align self…

3. This is just an example of the kind of people it would be better to avoid

4. Scandals involving people like Bill Cosby demonstrate the types of things that success-at-any-price mentalities expose themselves to…

C. In contrast, church FELLOWSHIP is meant to be real and authentic, but sometimes even believers can be conditioned to put on MASKS

1. With family, friends, and the church family, you should be able to be yourself

2. Sadly, traditions of legalism or justifying everything we do with a spiritual purpose have created a lot of insincerity in God’s Kingdom…

II. You May Be DRIVEN to An Unbalanced, Workaholic Lifestyle (4-5)

A. This proverb is not against work, but is a matter of BALANCE (4)

We need to make a living, but we also need to invest ourselves in activities that do not include financial gain!

Proverbs 28:19, “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”

1. Ecclesiastes 4:6, “Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”

2. The Workaholic’s 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my foreman, I shall not rest.

He makes me mow down the green pastures.

He leads me to generators beside rapid waters.

He wears out my soul.

He shoves me to conferences for my schedule's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of relaxation,

I fear no chance of rest;

For my feelings of guilt, They haunt me.

Thou dost prepare a work table before me.

In the presence of my comrades.

Thou has filled my mind with worry;

My workload overflows.

Surely busyness and pressure will follow me,

All the days of my life,

And I will run to and fro

In the house of the Lord forever.

3. We can become addicted to our own adrenaline

4. Result: weakened marriage, weakened family relationships

5. People are driven by false guilt if they are not always financially productive and false rules of legalism; believers need to let grace become real in their lives and not just sing about how amazing it is.

B. Wealth will quickly VANISH (5)

Marylu’s hummingbird feeder

Midrash in I Timothy 6:17-19, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”

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