S171P2 – The proverbial good friend: our supreme example

Pro. 18:24

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Some people see life as a popularity contest. Perhaps this comes from the fact that childhood and adolescence can be like this for many people. If we regularly see those who are well-known and well-liked enjoy advantages and favor, we hold that to be the rule. Some might even wear it as a badge of honor to know that multitudes adore them even if the adoration comes from strangers in far-off places. The problem with having the need to be adored by many is that it requires pleasing many. It would take a lot of energy to foster and maintain thousands or even just hundreds of friendships. The result of shooting this big is a trail of pseudo-relationships which die for lack of nourishment.

I think this verse draws a contrast between quantity and quality. No matter what our social media accounts say, no one has hundreds or thousands of friends. We simply do not have the time or energy to foster and nurture friendships well in such volume. Friendships are no novelty or passing hobby. Personal relationships take work if they are to be genuine and successful. The question is whether one would prefer countless friendships in name only or a few friendships which are true. Only one carries with it dependability and trust. We have a perfect model of a friend, and that example works two ways. He is the kind of friend we should strive to be and the kind we should seek to have.

I think the scriptures are clear that we are to be discerning in our friendships. We enter these close relationships with people who we expect will give the same devotion, attention and support that we know we must give as friends. Adoration and accolades are not necessarily the love required to maintain godly friendships. We should be seeking connections like the one described here, closer than brotherhood. That is not your everyday friendship. That is a relationship miracle in this fallen world, and it takes wisdom and work for those who wish to taste of its fruit. Father, help us to nurture genuine friendships with You as our model of the affection and support we should offer and receive.