Faithful Friends

Life would be dire without a few good friends. I’ve known several people who chose to live alone and isolated, and it produced an oppressive atmosphere around them, magnified worries, and propped up narrow-minded views. But when people have friends, everything improves.

The woman of Luke 15:8-10, who lost an expensive coin, called her friends together to rejoice with her when it was found. Friendship keeps life a little lighter and easier to bear when troubles overshadow us.

Jesus said, “Greater love has no one that this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Of course, Jesus was speaking about his upcoming death on the cross, but we can also learn that friends care about you, watch your back, and extend loyalty and sacrifice. Life is a lot easier when friends watch out for you.

The apostle John sent a message to a threatened church and said, “Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name” (3 John 15). Christians are friends who bring emotional health to others.

The writer of Proverbs said, “Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov.27:17). The author, W.J. Deane said of this verse, “Men’s thoughts are stimulated and sharpened by conversation. Friendship broadens a man’s views. He is able to see how other men think and feel. Thus, he is lifted out of the narrowness of his own single vision. Such breadth gives strength when it is accompanied by an earnest love of truth and right. One good, true friend is more helpful than a score of mere acquaintances. Hence the supreme importance of cultivating friendship with the wise and good.”

The helpful effect of good associates, and the influence we have on each other is evident in all of these verses from the Bible.

Christians work hard to make friends with all kinds of people. We’re open to it. It’s part of our mission. Will you accept our friendship?

– Tim Johnson

Great Friends

One of the greatest friendships we find in the Bible was that of David and Jonathan. From them we can learn what makes friendships work well. Both of them were soldiers and they appreciated weapons and strategy. In 1 Sam.18:4, Jonathan gave his sword and bow to David as a gift; very personal items. It’s the things people have in common that bring them together. It can be something as engaging as soldiers in the army, or something as simple as an interest in gardening.

These two men quickly found themselves in a tricky situation: Jonathan’s father, king Saul, was jealous of David and wanted to execute him. Friendship was tested by the complications that followed. Jonathan knew David was innocent of any deceit, so he stood by him in loyalty. Good friends do that for each other when difficulties strike. Loyalty should never waver between good friends. However, in real life we often suffer the pain of losing a good friend; loyalty can vanish sometimes. But the world is full of interesting people open to friendship and we may simply need to open up to them, putting the pain of prior friendships on the back burner. Never forget a friend even if they have turned their back on you. If you’re lucky, they may return someday.

If you read the last few chapters of 1 Samuel, you’ll find that Jonathan sacrificed for his friend David, who had a death sentence on his head. They sometimes met secretly to check on each other, challenge each other, and figure out what to do next. Jonathan would have suffered severely if his father found out. Strong friendships don’t mind sacrificing for each other. If you haven’t had a friend like that, maybe you should find ways to sacrifice for others. As someone once said, to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend.

Of all the things that help friendships flourish, there needs to be a strong common-denominator of conviction. Both David and Jonathan loved God and wanted to serve Him with all their hearts. This one over-riding quality gave these men the best foundation to stand on. It furnished them both with humility, common-sense, direction, and courage. Great friendships are built on faith in God and appreciation for each other.

There’s a tragic end to the story of David and Jonathan: the latter died in battle (1 Sam.31). David mourned for him and wrote his thoughts down in a piece called “The Song of the bow” (2 Sam.1). When David became king he honored his friend Jonathan by caring for the man’s handicapped son for the rest of his life (2 Sam.9). Real friendships are never forgotten.

– Tim Johnson

The Wisdom of Two

friends, twoOne day Solomon thought about the labours of man, and wrote, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Eccles.4:9-10). In his day, most people worked on farms and in the fields where it is hard for one person to handle large animals and heavy harvests. Injuries were common, but easier to survive with friends helping out. Continue reading