Summary: This sermon focuses attention on the kind of relationship that God desire each of us to aspire to in order to enjoy genuine relationships. It uses the story of the friendship between Jonathan and David to illustrate the type relationship God blesses.

Three simple words, words worth dying for! “I Love you.”

Ernest T. Bass, a character from “The Andy Griffith Show” gives us a glimpse of a friendship moment:

“Malcom, I ain’t gonna touch a hair on your head. You’re my friend, my true friend. I don’t care if you did take my job away from me and ruin my matrimonial chances with my beloved Romeena.

You’re my friend, Malcolm, my bosom pal.

I love you,

I love you,

I loooove you!”

I shared this introduction my first Sunday as the pastor of Vail Valley Baptist Church in 2002. For many years, long after we moved to another field of service, we would hear the phrase, “I loooove you!” These words set a precedent for the kind of relationship God’s expected us to maintain—we did and continue to have close relationships with friends we met in Vail, Arizona. This love characterizes relationships that span almost 35 years that began at Mt. Bethel Baptist Church, Leesville, LA. (There are many other examples to share)

As Jesus saw Mary’s tears of grief due to the death of her brother he was deeply moved. Those observing, even those would quickly turn against Jesus said, “Look how deeply he loved him. John 11:36. I believe those were also tears of compassion for Mary and the love Jesus had for her. Jesus says to all of us, “I looove you!”

Ted was born in 1942 in Chicago. At the age of 9 he was hospitalized for 5 days. The doctor’s order prohibited his parents from holding or hugging him. His parents described him as listless and withdrawn when he came home.

Though he was a bright young man, continued withdrawal described him. While not considered strange or weird, he was viewed as a withdrawn person that was a “discipline problem.” Yet, at the age of 16 he headed off to Harvard.

He shared a very stylish suite with 5 other young men. One roommate said, “I can’t remember having a conversation with him.” Another said, “Ted had a special talent for avoiding relationships by moving quickly past groups of people and slamming the door behind him.”

He moved further into isolationism, instructing his family to draw a red line under the postage stamp to identify “urgent and important” letters. His family sent him a letter marked in red when his father died. Ted wrote back saying the message did not merit a red line. At the deepest point of his seclusion the world came to know him by his tag name–the Unabomber.

What causes some people to isolate themselves from society and avoid intimate relationship? Avoiding the possibility of friendship and fellowship? Ted Kaczynski did it. Howard Hughes, a multimillionaire did it. Jay Paul Getty ended up living isolated and alone.

As a teenage boy I would often cry myself to sleep because of feeling alone and rejected. Yet, my desire to love and to be loved has never been snuffed out. When I have felt like withdrawing the Almighty God urges me to give up my fear, my busyness, and my lack of faith so that I may “plunge into the pool of friendships.” (Hays p. 3)

I am not talking about acquaintances with whom you work or socialize. I am talking about intimate friends with whom you:

• Share from the depth of your soul...

• Confide in with no reservation...

• You expose the real you...

• Trust with the most intimate thoughts...

Who are your friends? Do you have any? I often ask clients with whom I work, “If you need to talk with someone, to whom would you go?”

The story of Jonathan and David is one of those biblical accounts that draws me like a magnet. They should have been enemies; yet they were friends.

In 1 Samuel 16, we read about Samuel anointing David. Scripture implies that David was invited to play the harp for Saul without Saul knowing God had placed his hand upon David. The text is not clear about Jonathan’s relationship with David prior to 1 Samuel 18:1.

David, a shepherd boy and the youngest in the family, went to the battlefield to check on his brothers. When he got arrived, he heard Goliath and was puzzled as to why he had intimidated the Israelites. for 40 days. David encouraged Saul,

Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. (I Samuel 17:32)

To make a long story short, David went out to face Goliath “in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel”. Goliath had openly defied Yahweh. With a sling and a stone David faced the giant and struck him down.

Saul was impressed with the event and asked to speak with David. David was proud of himself as he clutched the head of the giant, an incredible sight to have observed.

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