Summary: Our navel is a constant reminder that we all started life connected to another human being; many many of us spend all of our lives trying to get reconnected to someone.
FRIENDSHIP: A LESSON FROM BELLY BUTTONS
14 David stayed in the desert strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands.
15 While David was at Horesh in the Desert of Ziph, he learned that Saul had come out to take his life.16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.” 18 The two of them made a covenant before the Lord. Then Jonathan went home, but David remained at Horesh.
Good morning. I’m glad you’re here. You are very important to me.
As I start my sermon I have a quiz for you today. You might want to get a pencil and turn to a blank spot in your sermon notes.
• Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
• Name the top five news stories five years ago.
• Name the ten leaders from the biggest countries in the world.
• Name ten people who have won a Pulitzer Prize.
• Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actress.
• Name the World Series winners of the last five years.
How did you do? My point is that none of us remember the headliners of yesterday and these are no second-rate achievers either. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:
• List two teachers who helped you through school.
• Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
• Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
• Think of a few people who have made you feel, appreciated and special.
• Think of three people you enjoy spending time with.
The people who make a difference in your life are not the most powerful ones, nor do they have the most money or awards. They are the ones that care.
So how do you know who your real friends are?
One of the ways I would answer that comes from an old television show I used to watch: Gilligan’s Island.
There were very few episodes of G. I. that you would consider emotionally touching. But I do remember one. Gilligan had gotten his feelings hurt and decided to move away to the other side of the island. He chose to live alone in a cave.
This became a miserable existence for Gilligan—he was all alone. But also miserable for everyone else on the island—one of their own was no longer among them, in fellowship with them...and there was a terrible void. They missed him at the dinner table. They missed his jokes, his laughter, and his gentleness. They even missed his clumsy screw-ups. At one point in the episode they were sitting around the dinner table taking turns talking about the specific things they missed about him. So what did they do? Skipper decided to leave the rest and go live with Gilligan so he wouldn’t be alone. Unbeknownst to each of the others, they all had the same inclination and one by one they relocated. Eventually all seven people were together again on the other side of the island … in Gilligan’s cave.
A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following:
• "One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable."
• "One who understands our silence."
• The winning definition read: "A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out." (From "Bits and Pieces," July, 1991)
David may have initially thought King Saul was his friend. He played music to soothe the king’s fits of depression. He defeated Goliath in battle. He probably thought he had created a mutual bond between himself and the King. Yet Saul saw David as a threat and sought to kill him. David’s intentions were pure – Saul had malice in his heart.
In the midst of the crisis David discovered who his true friends were and there is one friendship that clearly stands above the rest in the stories of David … it was Jonathan; King Saul’s son.
Jonathan and David illustrate some very important elements about friendship. They also illustrate important elements of what it means for us to be the people of God – a local church. You see, the church is to be a model of community for society at large. Jesus said as much. He said people ought to look at the church, see all the differences in the people there and still be able to say “Wow! Look at how they love each other!” (John 13:35). Jesus said that was the evidence the world would have that we are his followers. We might want to make the litmus test a lot of other things but Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”