Monday, October 10, 2016
I am always slightly perplexed when I hear certain people boast that they have many friends, the reason being that if they do, how many of them can be considered “true” friends? Proverbs 14:20 reads: “The poor man is hated even by his neighbor, but the rich man has many friends.” I remember hearing a remark many years ago, whether the story was true or not, which typifies this proverb’s message. A fellow co-worker told me he had been doing some yardwork when he remembered he needed to go to our job-related credit union. He said that as soon as he walked in the door, the first teller asked him in a loud, gruff voice: “What do you want”? When he told her he was just coming in to make a deposit, she quickly changed her demeanor and cheerfully said: “Good morning sir, welcome to (name of credit union)” When you see celebrities of all kinds make their entrance surrounded by a large troupe of people, how many of these do you think would be around if the celebrity in question wasn’t filthy rich? When I was growing up, my friends and I always wanted to hang around with the only kid in our neighborhood that always had a dollar or two, ever hoping he would buy us a candy, soda, or ice cream. Once we were teenagers, he didn’t have as many “friends” as before.
As is the case with some of you, I can’t truly say I have many friends; what I can say is that I have many, many brothers and sisters now because of Christ. Apart from being fellow believers, a select few of them are my dear and true friends. I think of them often, the big help they have been to me, and the way they have enriched my life. Someone has said: “a friend is someone who knows all about you, and still loves you.” Helen Keller was quoted as saying: “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than to be alone in the light.”
If you have a few “true” friends in your life, thank God for them and always pray for them. I also learned this about true friends: they make our lives easier and more bearable. Upon my retirement, I quickly joined a health club knowing that I needed to be in better shape. Although it is very necessary for someone my age, I’ve never been crazy about walking. One thing I do remember, however, was that when I was on the treadmill at the gym by myself, my time alone seemed like an eternity and it played heavily on my mind. On the other hand, whenever one of my gym friends walked with me, the time would go by quickly and the walk was no longer wearisome but enjoyable. Solomon wrote: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) What makes our true friends even better, is that there is a lot of “Christ” in them.
God’s promise for today: (Isaiah 65:24) “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”