The Men’s Ministry of our church had a cookout last weekend with over fifty in attendance. People are ready to regather and reconnect. I brought a short devotional on the value of friendship. In it I shared two main verses from the Scripture.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
A friend has been defined as a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person; a person who you know well and who you like a lot. Friendship is not all that easy to define, but you know it when you have it. There is an epidemic of individualism and loneliness, and there are a lot of negative consequences because of these issues.
Friends are people who share values and interests, along with a common likeability. God created us for fellowship. God saves us for discipleship. God instructs us in friendship to be encouraging, helpful, dependable, loyal, servant-minded, and honest.
I shared some statistics on the dramatic rise of suicide in our nation, stemming from loneliness and despair. Dr. Craig Bryan, a professor, studies these issues and he believes a strong sense of independence and self-reliance is a major cause. Bryan wrote, “There’s been an increase in the ‘every-man-for-himself mentality.’ There doesn’t seem to be as strong a sense of ‘We’re all in this together.’ It is much more, ‘Hey, don’t infringe upon me. You’re on your own, and let me do my own thing.'”
May this not be the case among God’s people. To have a friend you have to be a friend. Let’s all seek to be a friend to others and be thankful that in Jesus Christ, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.