Jump Start # 2519
Proverbs 27:10 “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, And do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother far away.
Friends—we all have them. We have them on Facebook. We have them listed on our phones. We have them across the backyard fence. And, we have them in our hearts. The best friends are those who move you closer to the Lord. We need to stick near to those who are headed to Heaven.
Our verse today is about two kinds of friends: our friends and our dad’s friends. In a beautiful world those two are often the same. Our dad’s have introduced us to great people and as we grew we kept in touch with them and now they are our friends.
I see that with my kids. I have put quality people in my life that have loved me and helped me so much. My children grew up knowing these people. In fact, when it came time for weddings, my children chose those among my friends to conduct the ceremonies. That touched me that they thought so much of these people as I have.
This is a lesson that I do not think we have stretched and explored enough. We spend an enormous amount of time teaching our teens about how to develop quality friends in their lives. But what about us? Would we want our friends to be their friends? What do our kids think about our friends?
Here are some things to think about:
Whether we want to admit this or not, there are times that our children may want to talk to and get advice from someone other than us. They want a perspective that is not mom or dad. It may be that they know what we will say. I think about Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. When it was his turn to serve as king, he asked this father’s counselors advice. He rejected it. He listen to his contemporaries, his friends. They did not have the insight, experience nor understanding that the older men had. His failure to follow the advice of his father’s friends led to the kingdom splitting. If your grown child really wanted to pour his heart out, would he choose one of your friends?
We show our children the value and good of having quality people surrounding them when they see what we have done. I went to a college basketball with a group of my friends recently. Great men, each of them. A couple of them are amazing preachers. One of my sons joined us. I looked with joy as I saw him sharing hugs, holding conversations and engaging with these great men. I feel confident that if I was no longer on this side of life, that my children would know who to seek for help. During the game, there was an obscene and offensive cheer from the crowd. It was silent in our little row. Godly people. Spiritual giants. Leaders. You put these kind of people in your lives and they will have a great moral influence in your child’s lives.
I feel confident that when my generation has moved on to be with the Lord, that my children will tell their children about these great people that touched our lives. Footprints are being left in the sand of time that will inspire others for a long time to come. There was a time a few generations ago, that the pool of friends was the neighbors and family. Sometimes that included every dog in town and the quality was simply not there. Then, it shifted to classmates, roommates and co-workers. Again, the quality was often missing. Attitudes, language and behavior could at times be questionable. We tolerated it because these were our friends. But, then came the church for us. There we started noticing quality. Good men and women who loved the Lord and us. People that put time aside if we needed them. Generous. Kind. Focused. These were the people of God. Perfect? No. But what a huge difference they were in spirit, attitude and love of the Lord.
How do I find and connect with these kind of people?
First, you must be friendly to have a friend. Don’t always talk about yourself. Don’t always talk. Find those that you have things in common with. Don’t assume because someone is older or younger that they cannot be your friend. If you are looking among dogs, you’ll find a dog. However, if you look among spiritual giants, you’re likely to find a giant.
Second, spend some time together. Go out to eat. Be yourself. Don’t smoother the person. Let things develop and be natural.
Third, don’t take advantage of time, money or personal information of others.
Fourth, seek those that are going to be good examples to you.
Finally, find those who are God’s friends. David was. These are the few that will add quality to your life and help you.
These people of value and quality may not worship with you. They may not live in the same state as you do. That doesn’t stop friendships, especially in our world today.
Your father’s friends. We can’t pick who our parents called friends. But we certainly have a say in who we call friend. Make it people that you’d be proud to have your children know.
Don, Kenny, and Steve—just three of my many friends that I got to spend some time with recently. Good people. Good choices in my life.
I am blessed.