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Summary: Dependability is the mark of a true friend

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Hi! Let’s have a guessing game. I’ll show you the lyrics of some songs. We’ll ask the teachers to sing them. Then, you guess the title. Ready?

First song: “I’ll reach out my hand to you. I’ll have faith in all you do. Just call my name and I’ll be there.” That was “I’ll be there.” The Jackson Brothers originally sang it in 1970. Then in 1992, Mariah Carey sang her version of the song. Both versions became number one hits.

Second song: “You just call out my name. And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you got to do is call. And I’ll be there. You’ve got a friend.” That was “You’ve Got a Friend,” another hit song back in the 70s by James Taylor.

Third song: “Keep smiling. Keep shining. Knowing you can always count on me, for sure. That’s what friends are for. For good times and bad times I’ll be on your side forever more. That’s what friends are for.” That was “That’s what Friends are for” sang by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder for the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1986. It also became number one and even won a Grammy award for Warwick.

I know. You’re not yet born when they released those songs. But now, let me hear you sing the theme song of this animation movie: “You’ve got a friend in me. You’ve got a friend in me. When the road looks rough ahead and you’re miles and miles from your nice warm bed. You just remember what your old pal said. Boy, you’ve got a friend in me. Yeah, you’ve got a friend in me.” That was from “Toy Story.”

What’s common among these songs? Yes, that you’ve got a friend. There’s somebody there for you. There’s someone you can count on. In one word, dependable.

According to the dictionary, to be dependable means “to be capable of being depended on, suitable or fit to be relied on, worthy of one’s trust, good, reliable, responsible, safe, solid, steady, sure, tried-and-true, trustworthy, trusty.”[1]

Let’s look at the picture of a dependable friend in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12... “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”[2]

In what ways can we show that we can be counted on?

First, I can count on you to SERVE. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work”. In the Good News Bible, it says, “...because together they can work more effectively.” Then in the Contemporary English Version it says, “...because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn.” In short, together we can do things easier, faster and better. To be reliable means that when I ask you to help me I can count on you to do so. Galatians 6:2 says, “You obey the law of Christ when you offer each other a helping hand.”[3] A trustworthy friend will not even wait for you to ask for help. He will ask, “How can I help you?” He will not wait for an opportunity but he will look or even make an opportunity just to help you.

Second, I can count on you to SUPPORT. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” A newspaper ran a contest for the best definition of a friend. The winning entry among thousands was, “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.” This is exactly what the Bible said: “A friend loves at all times.”[4] I like how the Contemporary English Version translated it. “A friend is always a friend...” Here we see that one of the traits of a friend is dependability. A true friend has staying power no matter what happens to you and no matter what happens between the two of you. Proverbs 18:24 declared: “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” The Message (The Bible in Contemporary Language) goes like this: “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

Third, I can count on you to SECURE. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.” A dependable person protects her friend. You will not say or do anything that could hurt your friend or ruin her reputation. Gossip is a sure way to destroy a friendship. You will not talk behind her back. If ever a person will say something against your friend, you will encourage her to talk to your friend directly. To protect your friend does not mean you condone her sins. The author of the bestselling Purpose Driven Life, Dr. Rick Warren said, “Love is caring enough to confront.” Your friend can rely on you to correct if necessary. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”[5] In another translation it says, “Wounds made by a friend are intended to help...”[6] If there is an area in your friend’s life that needs to be addressed, Proverbs 24:26 says, “An honest answer is a sign of true friendship.”[7] You will not flatter your friend but you will help your friend change. “In the end, people appreciate frankness more than flattery.”[8]

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