Acquaintances vs. Friends

A colleague of mine once said, "The longer you are in the ministry, you will have more acquaintances and fewer friends."

At the time, I couldn't understand what he meant.  But 20 years later, his words are ringing more accurate than ever.

Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I think that the Bible has a lot to say about friendship, don't you?

But we are a culture that doesn't have time to be a friend.  Marriages grow distant, families grow apart, and friendships are few and far between.

But friendship is what the Gospel is built on.  Let me break it down a little.

1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Hospitality is more than being friendly and polite.  It was built on the idea that "community" was of higher value than "individuality."  What we did together mattered, but what we did individually was impossible without the support and help of others.  This is a founding principle of the church.  It's how the early Apostles and leaders instructed the church to operate.  That's because the early Church Fathers didn't see an organization; they saw family, community, and unity of faith together.

A church cannot be a church when its people practice individuality of faith and abandon their community of faith.   You cannot care if you're not a friend.

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me to be a friend to my church and allow my church to be a friend to me.  AMEN