Summary: There are times in each person’s life when real friends are needed.
Luke records a conversation that took place between Jesus and a lawyer concerning the question "What makes a real neighbor, or what makes a real friend?" The lawyer, apparently, was not a good neighbor and was looking for a way to justify himself. And so Jesus, as he oft times did, taught a lesson by speaking a parable.
He said, 30)“… A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31)And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32)And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33)But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34)And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35)And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36)Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37)And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
The text in Luke descibes the "extra mile effort" a real friend or a real neighbor will travel to help someone in trouble. A real friend, or a real neighbor will make great personal sacrifice in order to be of assistance to someone in need - even if it means placing themselves in a hostile environment.
Such is the case of a real friend who offers to fight a giant for King David. In 2 Samuel 21:15-17 we learn of yet another fight with a giant (one no doubt, related to Goliath - the Philistine whom David defeated when he was still a little shepherd boy. One thing is obvious, Giants have friends too and apparently when one defeats one giant in a family, the others line up to fight next.
The 2nd Samuel text says that: 15)Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. 16)And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. 17)But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.
I believe that these two passages of scripture describe for us the profile of what real friendship is about. Our world is built on the concept of what I call, “DISPOSABLE RELATIONSHIPS.” Something that is disposal is something that you use, for awhile, until you get out of it what you need to get out of it… and then you throw it away.
This morning, I used a disposal razor to shave with. It served it’s purpose well. And I’ve discovered that I can use a disposal razor a couple of times, but if I use it more than that it becomes dull and irritating, and so… I throw it away!
I use Q-tips to clean my ears, in order to hear better. But I’ve learned that you can’t use Q-tips but once without risking infection. Nobody wants an infection and so… we throw Q-tips away!
Some people like “Wet Wipes.” You know… those little moist towellets of paper that can be used to clean-up things. But like any sanitary material, Wet Wipes can only be used one time to clean up a mess, then you have to… throw them away!
And of course, everyone in today’s modern world knows about disposable diapers. You put them on babies and sometimes adults, but once they’re…. (you know) … everybody wants them removed and done away with.
Well… it’s often true that - in life - some of the people we think are our friends turn out to be "disposables" who are with us, either until they get what they want out of us, or until they use us up! As long as we don’t become an irritation; as long as we don’t become a risk; as long as we remain clean… they’re our friends. But the minute we become a risk or un-useful to them… they want to trash us! That’s why Benjamin Franklin once said, “Be slow in choosing a friend and be slower in changing friends” In other words, be careful who you call “Friend” and when you find a real friend… cherish it like you would a precious jewel!