A Friend Who Is Closer Than A Brother

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                         January 24, 2016

    “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

Last weekend I was blessed by…friends! One of my best friends, David Volitis, and his wonderful wife, Donna, drove up from San Antonio, Texas. Rich and Casey Blanchette drove in from Goodland, Kansas. Ron McKinney, Roger Mollenkamp, Steve Wamberg, Andy Brooks, Greg Davis, Rick Banier, Tom McBroom, and Mark Miller all made it a point to come alongside me for part of the day.

There were many others from my congregation who celebrated with me, and my clergy colleague friends who I’ve grown close to…many, many friends!

The occasion was my last Sunday at the church I’ve pastored for the past sixteen plus years, and an afternoon reception. I had a long list of people who I invited to come. Some of them had been a part of our congregation and had decided to switch churches. For a pastor that is perhaps the most painful experience, when you care for, invest, walk alongside someone and their family, and then they decide it is time to move on. But I’ve learned…after many sleepless nights…that our friendship has stayed on solid ground.

As the verse in Proverbs says, there are unreliable friends and friends who stick close.

I am extremely blessed to have many friends who stick close.

I used to do something with the youth of our church called the “Trust Fall” or the “Faith Fall.” It was simply having a group stand around one person, who was standing on a chair or ladder a few feet above the ground and having the person fall backwards. He had to trust that his friends had to catch him. They had to be there for him.

A person who is blessed knows he has a group of friends…reliable friends…who will not let him fall, who will be there for him.

My friends in ministry that I’ve known for years, Tom Bayes and Chuck Moore, both called me to congratulate me and to let me know they are with me…even though they’re located in Dayton, Ohio and Charlotte, North Carolina. When I had those times in ministry when it was tough going I would call them. And if one of them was struggling they would call the other two of our triangle. That is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Someone who is a friend simply to get something from you is one refusal away from being an adversary. There are numerous “friendships of convenience.” The question is whether or not this friend will walk through the fire with you. Will they be there with you in the shallow waters, but stay safe when you enter the uncertain waters of the deep?

Some Sunday Carol and I will drive to Woodland, Kansas to attend First Baptist Church where Rich Blanchette pastors…because he is my friend. Some time in the next few months we’ll head down to San Antonio to see Dave and Donna….because they are our friends. Our separation by distance increases the yearning within us to be with them again. This morning I’m worshiping with Mark Miller and his family…because he is my friend.

A friend sticks closer than a brother.

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized

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