March 30, 2023, 4:00 PM



A Friend Indeed

I think we have all had the kind of friend that is a vital part of our everyday life for a while and then, inexplicably, their gone. Poof! In an instant. Sometimes there’s a clear reason why the sudden change and other times it seems impossible to pinpoint the when, why and where it happened. When Ronda and I first left seminary, we were serving at a Church in North Florida, and we found ourselves deep in the lives and hearts of the people. When we started there we had the clothes on our backs, our wedding china and silver service (Thank you aunt Hazel), a few pieces of furniture and not much else. We were making a little about minimum wage, but we didn’t have children. Ronda had an uncle in town who had made a place for himself by being owner of the Babcock furniture store and her parents lived 2 ½ hours away.

We threw ourselves into the ministry and had the time and energy for children’s lock-ins, youth lock-ins, after prom parties, ladies fellowship and men’s groups as well as our regular duties of worship planning and choir preparation. Sunday nights we3 were at the Rak Restaurant or at the pastor’s house. Several families got together every Sunday night and collectively cleaned our fridges. We ate together, prayed together, laughed together, sometimes cried together, and played together. Ronda learned how to ski and I was a comedian on the water.

Our Pastor’s wife had a habit of repeating things. A lot! If she had a great thought you would hear it, hear it, and hear it again, over and over. One of her oft repeated phrases was “Marten, you will have many friends in the ministry. Most of them will be friends for a season. If you’re very lucky you will have one or two who are friends of the heart. Those are the ones to hold on to. They’re very rare. Those will be your lifetime friends. It won’t matter if you rarely talk or even see each other. You may have moved to the opposite side of the country and have served in 4 or 5 churches but when that person calls you or when you call them it’s as if you never left. That’s a friend of the heart.”

I remember nodding my head and saying, yes Pat Pat. But those words have continued with me. I think Solomon knew about this because Proverbs 17:17 says:

A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.

Sibling rivalry can continue for a lifetime, but a friend, a true friend, a friend of the heart loves at all times.

Have the seasons of your life changed? Maybe the same is true for those around you. Not every friendship is meant to last. If you are like me, every friendship has had a purpose in your life that God has used for good. Maybe that seasonal friend was to encourage you or provide for your physical needs. I distinctly remember such a friend who bought much needed carpet for us in that first church and paid to have it installed. His generosity was like God giving me a hug. Some friends of the season are to help your through parenting or deal with a problem and when you’re doing well and that season is over God has another task for each of you.

The key may not be to look for friends of the heart, but to enjoy every friendship that God sends your way and then to rejoice greatly in the friends of the heart that God blesses you with.

Our Joy in the Lord is not based on the closeness of others, but rather in the closeness of God Himself. Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Spend time with Jesus. He is the true friend who will never leave, move away or disappoint.




04-02-2023 at 9:53 PM
Kathy Jones
Thanks for this one.
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