The Warmth of Friends
The Warmth of Friends
A week ago, I arrived home from vacationing with family. We had a good time, but were exhausted. As anyone just getting back from vacation knows, nobody needs a vacation like the person just finishing one. Even though I love my work, I was just feeling too tired. My mind was filled with thoughts of “getting back to the old grindstone.” I needed a pick-me-up.
But I didn’t have to go to Starbucks or McDonald’s. Instead, I went to my office and found a package sitting on my desk. I opened it to find a brand new, custom made, genuine leather bound, English Standard New Testament. When I say custom made, I mean there isn’t another one like this in the whole world (unless someone else had the same idea I did). I love the single-column, paragraph-styled, non-red-letter edition of the English Standard that I preach from. I’ve contacted Crossway publishers several times to see if they were going to put out a New Testament edition with the same format, and each time they’ve said they have no plans to. So, I reserved a hard-back copy of the full Bible edition at the FC Bookstore when I was there a few years ago. My plan was to pay for the cheap hardback Bible, then send it off to have the New Testament cut out and bound separately. However, to be honest, I got back to work from that particular trip and forgot I had done that.
Low and behold, some of my friends were together at the annual lectures the college offers and decided to get the job done for me and then sent it to me as a gift. Wow! It came with a note that simply said, “Your brothers love you.” It is one of the nicest gifts I’ve ever received. I will carry it with me not simply as a nice edition of God’s Word, but also as a reminder of why I need friends.
No, I don’t need friends to get me new Bibles. But I do need friends to provide what that gift provided. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says:
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
I’ve often referred to this passage. Typically, I discuss the parts about falling and prevailing. I generally gloss over the section about warming one another. In our modern day, that part just seems too awkward. But the point of it is about the comfort we receive from friends. That is what that gift meant to me. It was comfort. It was encouragement. It was warmth. It was the impetus to keep on keeping on in Christ, knowing that I have others who are walking with me who want to see me succeed.
I can open my new New Testament and read II Corinthians 1:3-7, which says we are comforted by God so we can be a comfort to each other. We all go through suffering, we all need comfort. God wants us to be warmth to each other, to be comfort and encouragement. Or as it says at the end of the same book: “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace…” (II Corinthians 13:11). According to Hebrews 10:25, the reason we need to assemble together is not to arbitrarily obey some rule but to encourage one another, to comfort one another.
Do you have friends who comfort, encourage, and provide spiritual warmth? If not, I encourage you to start looking for some. One day, you will need a pick-me-up. They’ll be there for you.