Summary: This is a sermon on friendship, suitable for "Friendship" Sunday.
Turn with me to 1 Samuel 18.
Read 1 Samuel 18:1-5.
This is one of the classic passages in the Bible about friendship. The friendship of Jonathan and David reached legendary proportions. The one thing that made their friendship unique is the fact that Jonathan was the heir-apparent to the throne of his father, King Saul, and David had been anointed by the prophet Samuel to be Saul’s successor. At some point in the friendship, Jonathan came to realize that, but it did not hinder their friendship. There are four things to consider in relation to friendship. I call them the four “I’s.” The first is…
I. The INTEREST in friendship.
There seems to be a renewed interest in friendship in our culture these days. Just look at television. Over the past 10-15 years we have seen shows like “Family Ties,” “The Cosby Show,” “Growing Pains,” “Home Improvement,” and others with the main characters being the family disappear. Over that same span of time show like “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Just Shoot Me,” “The Drew Carey Show,” and the like take center stage. These shows have main characters who are not related. Sure I know Monica and Ross are brother and sister on “Friends,” but the trend is away from family type shows. The trend is toward friend type shows. Now, I’m not here to preach against these shows, but they do offer us a window into our culture. The question arises: Why the interest in friendship?
How many of you live within 100 miles of where you grew up? One of the big reasons that drive interest in friendship is the increased mobility of our society. We are constantly moving. I have lived in three states and I’m not 30 yet. Years ago, that would have been very unusual, unless it was the result of military service. We are a very mobile society. Jobs take us to different parts of the country. College takes us to different places.
When my mom grew up, she grew up not too far from where her grandparents had farmed. When her and dad married, they lived on the farm with my mom’s parents until they found a house. When they did find a house, it was less than 30 miles away. A few years later they moved about 60 miles away. Then I was born. Fifteen years later, they moved another 350 miles away. Now, I have moved half way across the country.
Increased mobility has taken us away from our families, and put a greater emphasis on friends. I read a statistic the other day that said something like one out of five families move every year. Is it any wonder we are a disconnected society? Mom and dad live in this state, while grandma and grandpa live in another state. Brothers and sisters are scattered across the country. Descendants of my grandmother (who had 5 children that had children) live in 9 different states, as far west as Utah and as far east as North Carolina.
Friendship is important, because we are no longer as close to our families as we used to be. We need relationships. That is how we are made up. We need contact with other humans. Without contact, we despair. Have you ever noticed that someone who goes on a shooting rampage is usually described as a “loner”? We need relationships, and friends are important to fulfill that role.
Notice that in our passage this morning, that David was separated from his family. Verse 2 tells us, “And Saul too him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house.” David was given a prestigious position in service to the king, but he was a great distance from his family. It was important to him to have Jonathan as a friend so he could have that all-important interaction with someone.
The next aspect of friendship is…
II. The INSTITUTION of friendship.
Friendship is an institution. Institutions are things that offer us stability. Marriage is an institution. It offers stability to family life. Schools are institutions. They offer us stability in our education. Hospitals are institutions. They offer us stability with our health.
Friendship offers us stability of relationships. Our world is one of turmoil, and friendships offer us stability in the middle of a constantly shifting society. There are three things that are key to the institution of friendship. The first is…
A. Common GROUND
We have to find common ground with someone who would be our friend. When I graduated from college I began working at a big law firm. After I had been there about six weeks, I was assigned to work on a project where all of the files stored off-site were being transferred to another location. I went to the place where this was taking place. There was an army of temporary employees there. All different kinds of guys were there. I hit it off with Brad. Brad and I where both Christians. We had similar outlooks on life. We shared similar political views. We had common ground.