Friends and Thanksgiving – Proverbs 18:24
Banquets, anniversaries, and friends. How do you manage them all? On Friday morning received an invitation to attend a student’s anniversary celebration. On Friday afternoon the pastor’s wife called me to request that I speak at her church’s Thanksgiving banquet. Only by the grace of God was I able to give my well wishes to the student-pastor at noon and then be in place to share a devotional at the Thanksgiving banquet.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs says much about friendship. The writer of Proverbs uses his antithetical parallelism to speak of the highs and the lows of friendship. At every level there is dependability. You can depend on friends for better or worse. Let’s begin at the bottom and see where it leads.
Harassing Friends – These are friends who you can depend upon to lead you astray. They are your “dare-and-double-dare-you” friends. When the writer of Proverbs in chapter 1 speaks of the companions of the youth inviting him to crime, these are harassing friends. See Proverbs 1:10-19.
Happenstance Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend in a pinch. Your paths cross by happenstance, but these friends are there for good and God. Proverbs 27:10 says, “better a neighbor nearby that a brother far away.” On an Easter weekend I found I had a problem. I had been visiting family, and when I stopped about noon I made a bad discovery. Stuck in the tread of a tire I spotted a screw. What was I to do. I reported the problem to a member of the family. She called the tire store that had serviced her car when she had a flat. They said they closed at 1 PM, but they would wait until I got to the shop. I drove to the shop on State Line Road, met the men who were working on their car for a weekend race. They put my car on the rack, removed the screw, and plugged the tire. All this took about fifteen minutes. I asked the service technician the question, “How much do I owe you?” He said, “Five dollars.” The men working at Haywood Tires were being happenstance friends. Thank God for every one you and I meet. Pray that you and I can be that too.
Honorable Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend time and again. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Glenda is on my honorable friends list. When my late wife was ill, Glenda supported the family and assisted in ways only females understand. When some years had passed and my father-in-law fell ill Glenda was there again. She would bring a pan of hot homemade rolls to the house just because Jim loved them. She was there. Now if I am visiting I always get a welcome telling me I am loved and missed. Yes, Glenda is an honorable friend.
Holy Friends – These are the friends upon whom you can depend absolutely for God’s sake. They will push you closer to God. Have you found a holy friend? It may be someone who just takes time to say that they are concerned about your eternal salvation. Paul writing in Romans tells us all we can have just such a friend. That friend is Jesus. Read Romans 5:6-8: you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Give thanks for the good friends you have. Give thanks for the holy friend who is available to us all, Jesus.