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.