Summary: A summer series looking at wisdom from Proverbs. The focus is friendship.
BE WISE - FRIENDS
July 21, 2019
I’m going to play a song for about 30 seconds, and for some of you when you hear the first notes, you will know exactly what song this is and to what program it was from. Some of you will attempt to watch programs or pull out your old DVD’s and have a marathon.
Here’s part of the song - - -
There’s some great words in that song. It was song to the old TV program friends. If you are not familiar with the program, it was about 6 friends who are, as the song says, there for one another. It became so popular, and has maintained its staying power in syndication, because it focuses on how significant and beneficial true friendship can be. Despite misunderstandings, lack of successes, failures, and even some successes, the friends were always there for one another.
What made the show so iconic is that it struck a nerve because most people want what the characters on that show are portrayed as having: a circle of friends who will be there for them, even when the rain starts to pour.
As we continue our look at the book of Proverbs and gaining wisdom, I’m going to be looking at what this book says about friendships — about the kind of friend we should look for, and the kind of friend we should be. Proverbs teaches us that there is more to friendship than being acquainted with someone, or socializing with someone.
Proverbs offers us a view of friendship that helps us better learn who our friends should and shouldn’t be, as well as what it takes to be a good friend. It’s a view that moves beyond surface-level camaraderie to a deeper level in which we share our hearts and lives with one another.
Solomon said –
24 A man of many companions comes to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24
Having mere companions isn't enough. To make it through we life we need close, heart-to-heart, inner-circle friends. I think most people would say they have a lot of acquaintances. They know a lot of people and some of them may consider themselves friends, but in reality they are acquaintances. They are not people you are going to share your deeper needs and struggles with. They are people who you basically stay on the surface with.
But in life, we need people who are going to be there with us when life is not going the way we had hoped. People who will be there and do what Paul spoke about in Romans 12 –
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
As you develop friendships, Paul calls for our love to be genuine. Literally, the word means to be unhypocritical. Don’t be a hypocrite or a phony to your friend. Have you ever had that happen to you? Someone you thought was a friend, really wasn’t? It hurts! And it’s important to make sure, as best as we can that your friends are really your friends, and you are a friend as well.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Without getting into all of the Greek in this verse, 2 different words for love are used in this sentence. Paul is telling us to have a brotherly love. What’s the city of brotherly love? Philadelphia. That’s literally what the word means. Have a brotherly love, and love one another as if you were family members. Love one another with loving tenderness as a parent and child would have mutual tenderness and love for one another. That’s how we should love one another. That’s part of being a friend and having others be a friend to you. Do you do that? Do you receive that as well.
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
The word contribute really means to share or participate. It’s a call to help your friend when they are in need. Can you contribute something positive in their lives. If they are in need, can you provide a meal, cut their grass, give them a ride. Can you do something to help them? Now, the Christian way to get around this is to look at that friend and say “I’ll pray for you.” It sounds all spiritual, and maybe they do need prayer, but maybe more than prayer, they need that friend who will walk with them in that journey, sharing life and resources. And you do that while showing hospitality. You are opening yourself and being welcoming to that friend, even though it just may be an inconvenience to you, but because they are your friend, you gladly become inconvenienced so you can care and minister to them. Which leads into the next verse - - -