“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.” Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)
Friends. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some have big hearts. A few deliver the sunshine of laughter. One may offer a slender shoulder for you to cry on. One ally might listen while you whine, while another may speak the truth even when it hurts. One girlfriend may bring a casserole when you are sick, still another offers a prayer for healing. Pals will compliment you, hug you, watch your kids, and send you a birthday card. Or they might call once a year just to catch up on life. Whatever type of friends filter through your life, true healthy friendships are a gift from God.
We learn the importance of friendship at a very early age. I remember my friend’s three- year-old daughter throwing out the worst insult she could conceive. Her little freckled face in a scowl, she would growl, “You no my friend!”
Throughout our lives, we long for friendship. This fact is supported by the television shows viewers loyally tune into throughout the decades. We hum lyrics from the Cheers theme song “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” We watch Friends with hopes we too might develop friends through the ups and downs of life.
Today’s verse, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense,” reminds us of the importance of friendship in our lives, Friendships enrich our lives. They help us through the valleys of despair and rejoice with us on the mountaintops of joy. Friends do life with us. Which of your friends has been with you through thick and thin?
Friends help hold us accountable in what we do. My friend, Sally, holds me accountable to exercise with her. If it weren’t for her, I would stay in my pajamas, instead of putting on my walking shoes. Scriptures tells us, “You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 MSG). Sally keeps me dedicated to our agreement to improve our health and fitness. Another friend encourages me in my walk with God. I admire her dedication to God. Her passion sharpens my desire for a closer walk with the Lord Do you have a friend that inspires you in some way?
Of course, in order to have good friends, you must be a good friend to others. Certain qualities promote deep and lasting friendships. For example, honesty and loyalty set the foundation for friendship that can last a lifetime. My best friends are people I can trust and I want them to know they can trust me too. In addition, patience, kindness and a sense of humor are essential in developing and maintaining enduring friendship. Recently, I forgot a lunch date with a girlfriend. Hours later I was horrified when I remembered. I called only to discover she had completely forgotten it too. Relieved, we laughed together at our forgetfulness. A good chuckle at our human foibles helps us to keep in mind that even the best friendships will have imperfections. Do you show kindness, patience, humor and grace in your friendships?
Friendship! It’s one of the true riches we can have in this life. Will you thank God today for your personal friends?
Dear Lord, Thank You for giving me a variety of friendships to help me walk the road of life. I am especially grateful for the friends who inspire me. Lord Jesus, teach me how to be a better friend. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.
Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley
Perplexing Proverbs by Susanne Scheppmann
Say a prayer of thanksgiving for a specific friend in your life. Take a moment to send a card or an email to a friend with whom you haven’t spoken for awhile.
What character traits do I value in a friendship?
What type of friend am I?
Do I treasure the friendships in my life?
Proverbs 25:13, “Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!” (MSG)
Proverbs 18:24, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” (MSG)