By: Tim Sader
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
Before Living Word my family went to Grace Evangelical Free Church. We met quite a few families there some of which we still talk to thirty-five years later. Out of these people we became great friends with the Cramptons. We meet them when my dad joined the prayer ministry at church and Rose Crampton was a member of his team. Shortly after my dad was telling her about having the gift of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues. She wanted to know more so he arranged for her to come to our apartment to meet Grandpa Bob and pray to receive the Holy Spirit. She received Him and lives a powerful Spirit filled life to this day. After that my mom and dad became best friends with Rose and her husband Brian and they have three kids; April, Robert and Ben. We would meet them after church at McDonald’s for ice cream cones and extended fellowship. I’m not sure if their family or ours went to Living Word first but we started going there together because it was a better fit for our beliefs. When my brother and I were young they would babysit us and soon April took over that job because it paid so well. All joking aside I’m sure the pay was hardly worth some of the torcher we put her through and sometimes she had her brothers to look after also. When we were little kids Ben and Robert had minimal interaction with Joe and me because of our differences in age. Brian shockingly passed away while out of town on business and their world was turned upside down. I was older and a bit more mature after that happened and Ben became my cool older friend; He’d say he wasn’t to cool though with his home movies and wood panel minivan. When I was in middle school Ben was in high school; sometimes him and Robert would come pick me up. We would get pizza or a sub, we went to the mall, movies and would cruise around listening to music we weren’t supposed to like. Though we are spread throughout the country Ben, Robert, April, Brian, Rose and her new husband John Lucht are more than great friends they are family. We haven’t all met up for many years but when we get to it’s like no time has passed.
A lot has changed through the years for their family and ours. We all left Minnesota, Rose remarried, April and Ben got married and started families, my parents separated and Joe passed away. In the past ten years our families have met up in some way probably half a dozen times. Our families are devoted to being lifelong friends in the name of the Lord. We have seen a new generation grow up, shared our stories of friendship and God moments with them. When we part we go in peace knowing that no matter the time or distance between us we have true friendship with them (1 Sm. 20:42). Our families had close companionship because of our beliefs and lifestyle. For a time we had sweet fellowship in the house of God with them among the other worshipers (Ps. 55:13-14). The friendship we have is first to follow the Lord so we will grow closer to Him (Ps. 119:63). All who truly fear the Lord are good friends for us to share our lives with. Friends love at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity (Prv. 17:17). My brother was my best friend but the Crampton’s showed me love in many ways also. Unreliable friends may bring us to ruin but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Ben and Robert are my brothers from another mother. We are commanded to love one another like this and no one has greater love than to lay our life down for a friend. We are friends of God if we follow His command but He is our greatest friend because of His sacrifice and everything He knows He shows to us (Jn. 15:12-15). Our friendship with the Lord is best when shared with others so they may know His love and we may enjoy Him together.
Great friendships that last a life time are hard to find and harder to keep but if we trust that God is our true friend first we will be surrounded by others who love Him to and will be good friends for us. To have good friends we must be willing be good friends to others. A good companion always follows the command to love and follows the word of the Lord. We can always rely on a true friend because they will likely be closer to us than or own families.
Lord relationships with others can be messy. It is often hard to have friends and even harder to be the kind of friend you want us to be. Help us Lord to love people in our lives like we should and surround us with people who will be good friends so together we can grow more in you. Mostly God we say thank you for being our friend and laying it all down so that we can hang out with you forever. In Jesus name, Amen.
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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. Luke 8:16