He was flattered, to say the least. His son was being pursued by all the best teams and organizations. Each coach he talked to praised his son and promised the best experience for him.

As flattered as he was, he was also confused. They all seemed to promise so much, but he couldn’t tell if they were genuine.

How could he know?

Proverbs 23:1-3 has some insights–“When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; and put a knife to your throat, if you are a man of great appetite. Do not desire his delicacies, for it is deceptive food.”

In the baseball world, the proverbial ruler might be the coach of a great travel team, a successful high school coach, or a college recruiter. Clearly, not all of those folks offer something deceptive, but this verse should give us at least a little pause, forcing us to avoid rushing into something simply because we have been flattered.

Instead, God says, consider it all very carefully…

Be aware of your own tendencies. It’s so easy to let the press clippings, the words of coaches, and the potential future opportunities blind us to the kinds of people we might be dealing with. We’ve got to ask God to give us eyes to see past the compliments we receive.

Be patient when associating with people who have what you want and are where you want to be. Just like this ruler who puts out a buffet for everyone, there are folks who will tell us whatever we want to hear, just so we are indebted to them in some way. Hear the caution from the Lord in these verses–sometimes, what they offer is deceptive.

Be willing to walk away from someone who doesn’t have any character, regardless of what they offer you. “Put a knife to your throat” might sound extreme, but it’s better to starve than to eat the food of someone whose motives are only for their own glory. There is no coach or player, no matter his success, who is worth being around who does not have character. I think that’s part of what this verse speaks to us.

Lord Jesus, give me discernment when I’m flattered or complimented. Help me to remain humble and focused on what you want for my life. Amen.