A Friend In Need is a Friend Indeed
Well, this blog post comes from the Christian Media Australia annual conference on the Gold Coast Queensland. It’s a time when many of those who serve the Lord in the media come together to learn, to “network” and to grow.
That’s great. But the thing that’s really struck me afresh this year, is that the greatest thing for me at these conferences is catching up with old friends. People I’ve worked with “in the trenches” over the years.
Doesn’t sound very “missional” does it? Until you realise that the Bible has a lot to say about … friends.
In fact, the Bible has so much to say about friendship, I wonder sometimes why I’ve never picked up a systematic theology textbook that talks about the doctrine of friendship.
God’s Word tells us that it’s not good to be alone. That we’re made to be in community. That friendships make us stronger. It tells us how to choose our friends. How to be a friend. How to honour a friend. How to serve a friend. What to do when a friend is in trouble. What to do when friends desert us. How to handle the betrayal of a friend. The list goes on and on …
One of the most telling passages for me, comes from the wisdom book of Ecclesiastes:
Again, I saw vanity under the sun: the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling,” they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business. (Eccl 4:7,8)
To my way of thinking there are simply too many “solitary individuals” who toil away, and are never satisfied with the outcomes. Because the fruit of our labours only means something when we share it with our friends.
I have a confession to make. Last night, I was supposed to attend the official dinner at the conference. But … I played hooky.
I absconded with a couple of friends. Peter Tyrrell the head of Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living ministry here in Australia. Peter McCoy the head of the Christian radio station in Geelong in Victoria. They too were truants.
We escaped to a little Indian restaurant where we shared a meal together as friends … and we shared our lives, our stories, our ups, our downs … as friends do.
I have little doubt that our time together will remain forever one of the highlights, one of the true gems, one of the most valuable outcomes of this conference.
Now don’t get me wrong. Those who know me know I’m your classic Type A, outcome oriented kind of guy.
But to tell you the truth, it’s our family, our loved ones, our friends – the relationships forged in the furnace of life – that add the depth and the richness and the satisfaction to our toils that make it all worthwhile in the end.
So – here’s to absconding. Here’s to playing hooky. Here’s to being the truant.
May we all take the opportunity to escape the daily grind to spend some time … with a friend.
A well presented post on “Friendship” yes, quiet often we neglect the real value of friendship. Just the other day i read August issue of Readers Digest in it a wonderful and touching story of two military personals presented, one sacrificed his well being for the betterment of the other, indeed a touching story, such friendships seldom we see around. Sir, a must read. Thanks for sharing this.
Hi Berni and everyone reading this. Thnakyou! May God always bless you with good friends.
Jesus had friends and sometimes I have been reminded of the passage of scriptue that mentions when Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha.
when I had been witnessing to people or done something that I found chalenging and then gone and visited friends to be encouraged and refreshed. Or like whern the disciples met together and prayed. I have been so blessed with new friends and experienced the love of God through the church since I lost my husband. “He places the lonely into families.”
Some friends are only for an hour
to wipe your face as you carry your cross.
Some are for a day to bring you good cheer.
Some friends will walk with you part of the way
it may be short it may be far.
Some friends are for life forever near.
with you they climb every mountain
and wade in every valley of tears.
till one day you must be apart
like when the chariot came for Elijah.
but there is the One who is ever near
who sticks closer than a brother.
Being a Christian for a few decades now I have got to say that I have seen the best and the w……. of friendships. Sometimes people bless you beyond what you deserve and other times you feel that you are simply a commodity to be used. Importantly, it is written in the Bible that …by this shall all men know that you are my disciples. I know that ‘this’ means love, but isn’t that what friendships are built on? Love and trust, with a bit of patience and long-suffering thrown in as well. What a powerful evangelistic tool. By this I mean that true Christian friendship might just be the thing that people are looking for. I mean Christians among Christians. It certainly worked for me when I saw true Christian fellowship in action. Don’t you want to be a part of it?
Many thanks Berni for the work you do and for the wisdom you portray. I too thank God for my family and friends, I Know they are a gift and treasure from Him. Keep up the good and Blessed work you do.
ah..beautiful message indeed. ‘Selah’. i shall be ponderng/reflecting/meditating on ‘this one’! Well shared Berni, well shared indeed.
Thanks for the inspirational message. – I’m knockin’ off early!
Yeah that’s be right Josh!! You blokes in Christian media don’t do anything much anyhow, do you?
I totally agree with you. We are guilty as charged (sorry, this comes with my profession) – we often say we are busy or too busy for friends when in fact we need to do what you did. I salute you for that! Well done. Proverbs 17:17 teaches me that “A friend loves at ALL times …” We must make time for family and friends not routine activities. Yes yes yes, lets abscond and being a truant intermittently. God bless your ministry. Hope to catch up soon. Brenda
I agree completely, Berni. Friends are a gift from the Lord. I am honoured to call you one of my best!
Thanks Bob. 🙂
Great chatting on Skype this morning. Always a joy to catch up with the very best from Canada!
I won’t tell! Aside from hearing it was some great music last night I would have probably joined you. “You had me at ‘Indian'” 🙂 Say Hi to the two Peters for me and don’t send me a postcard saying ‘wish you were here’.
With the way your tracking the conference on Twitter, Facebook and blogs … it almost feels like you’re actually here rather than in sunny, downtown Auckland!!
Nevertheless … wish you were here!!
Lovely message…. sometimes we are too busy to stop and enjoy the important things in life – like our friends.