Proverbs 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Have you ever seen a line drawing of a cube that shows all its sides so that it looks like you can see right through it? Of course, it's not actually a cube at all; it's merely a flat drawing positioned in such a way so as to project the illusion of three-dimensional depth.
Are your friendships growing three dimensionally? Do they have depth? Or are they, like that cube on paper, flat and superficial, one dimensional? As we get older, we learn to rely on ourselves more. We find our fulfillment in our work or recreation or hobbies. But we have to be careful here. It's easy, even if we're naturally gregarious, to fall into a pattern of living in isolation.
Our Father created all His children to live interdependently with one another. The Bible is full of stories of powerful friendships and the impact they had on others: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy. God worked through these friendships, bonding individuals together. Their concern for one another—and their love for God—added depth and dimension to their lives.
It's good to be in community with others.
The Christian faith has always been about deep, dimensional interactions and meeting needs. Luke tells us of the earliest Christians, "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved" (Acts 2:42-47).
The early church in action must have been something to see! Bonded together in love for Jesus and an earnestness to live out His teachings, they lived in community. As they shared the Good News of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection with others—and their lives reflected His concerns—people were drawn to them, and their numbers increased. These were definitely some three-dimensional relationships!
Isn't that what we need today? We live in a world where people seem to be drifting further apart all the time, where our relationship base is a mile wide and an inch deep. Even those we fellowship with at church—our community of believers—are often seen only once a week, and maybe only a handful of times a month.
But as we come together, in person or otherwise, God can deepen our relationships as we encourage and lift each other up in Christ. Remember that Jonathan "strengthened his (David's) hand in God" (1 Samuel 23:16b). He encouraged David's faith. Our friendships, especially those in Christ, are meant to grow this dimension.
May God give each of us at least one cubic friend.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may we be good friends to those around us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, September 1978 issue, "Cubic" by Jane Fryar
1. Do you have some good friends? Is your "best friend" the person you've been friends with the longest?
2. How much of long-lasting friendship is born out of adversity? Have you had friendships forged stronger because of tough circumstances? Care to share?
3. What do you do to be the best friend you can be?
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