This is a sales liturgy that makes its way into American Christianity. Now, I don’t think you’d find this saying preached from the pulpit of most churches, but many of those in the pews would likely agree that surrounding oneself with positive, higher-achieving friends/acquaintances is a great strategy for reaching one’s professional goals.
Let’s examine this thought as it relates to the Christian mandate to love your enemies and watch out for the outcast, and if that’s not enough, then think of how Jesus was always eating and associating with the wrong people.
Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, and even allowed a “woman of ill repute” to wash his feet with her tears and hair and to anoint his feet with such an expensive perfume that it caused the man who would betray him to self-righteously protest that the money from the sale of said perfume could have been used to help the poor.
Does anyone for one minute believe that Jesus’ associations were restricted to those who might help him reach worldly fame in worldly ways? No chance! He was with the lepers and the woman who had suffered bleeding for 12 years, he had the audacity to be weak enough to ask for help from a 5-time divorcee in order to quench his thirst, and he called to a short tax collector to come down from a tree so that he could honor the man with a lunch visit. Jesus couldn’t have been more unconventional and less welcome to keynote the next national sales meeting.