Proverbs 23:6-8

6 Do not eat the food of a begrudging host,

   do not crave his delicacies;

7 for he is the kind of person

   who is always thinking about the cost.

“Eat and drink,” he says to you,

   but his heart is not with you.

8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten

   and will have wasted your compliments.

 

 It is wise to consider the motives of those who offer you gifts. Our example here is free food, which turns out not to have been free. The begrudging host appears to be generous, but he gives only to get. He offers his gifts with a smile, but also with expectations attached. What he wants is less important than that he wants something, you can be sure he has calculated the cost in his favor.

 Whatever satisfaction you got from his gift will turn sour when the catch is revealed. You are now obligated to sit through a sales pitch, or sign up for something, or do him a favor. Whatever it is, you’ll find yourself wishing you had avoided it altogether. It is better to disappoint the begrudging host sooner rather than later, or you too will become begrudging in your obligation.  

 This also is a warning to those of us who are tempted to get what we want by obligating others. Even if you are successful, you have undermined the relationship. Do you want to be known for manipulation? Have the courage to be straightforward in your requests, let others help you out of goodwill and not out of necessity. Give without expecting anything in return, and you may be surprised how your generosity is rewarded.

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