Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. (Proverbs 27:9, ESV)
A group of friends came over recently, something we hadn’t done for quite a while because of the pandemic. Even though I was the hostess, I think I can honestly say everyone had a good time. Want to know one way I judged their enjoyment? Because no one was staring at their cell phone, and everyone was engaged in lively conversation. We told stories, shared thoughts, and laughed a lot. And, of course, we ate. What fun to spend time with friends!
Levels of Friendship
We enjoy many different levels of friendship in life—a mentor, a work pal, a trustworthy confidant, a social buddy, or the “count on me anytime” friend. It has been said there are three kinds of friends: for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime. Many people enter our lives for a period of time, but only a select few become close forever friends.
In reading the Gospels, we see that Jesus interacted with many but also enjoyed a few deep, close friendships. Of the disciples, Peter, James, and John were closest to the Lord and formed His inner circle. John may have been Jesus’ closest friend for as He was dying on the cross, He entrusted His mother into John’s care. Jesus also had special friends such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. These friends offered a place of refuge and rest, allowing Him to refresh Himself away from the demands of the crowds.
A Gift from God
Friends are a gift from God. I would never want to live in a world where friendship did not exist. It would be a barren, lonely, loveless existence. I constantly thank God for those He has placed in my life and for the many ways they help me become a better person. Some have been mentors and teachers. Some have been encouragers and faith builders, while still others lovingly provide advice or correction. True friends are there regardless of the day or hour. When life gets tough, they hold us tight and pray for us and with us. Then they feed us chocolate and hold the tissue box while we cry.
Good friends increase our happiness, encourage us to grow, and support us through each season of life. But friendship is a two-way street, never one-way. Both must contribute to the relationship or it really isn’t friendship at all.
Friends share common interests and values. They respect each other and overlook the other’s quirks and faults. They rejoice in the other’s triumphs and mourn their sorrows.
It takes time to make a friend and to be a friend. When we invest in the lives of others, the blessing comes back to us. Someone once described friendship as when we share love and life with others. How rich I am because of the friends God has placed in my life!
Thank You, Lord, for the people You have placed into my life to love me, encourage me, and support me in times of trouble. Even greater than the love of my friends is Your love. It brings me joy and lifts me up. You are my best Friend!