Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Thought for Wednesday 7/10/13

“Let those who are friendly with you be many, but let your advisers be one in a thousand.  When you gain friends, gain them through testing, and do not trust them hastily.  For there are friends who are such when it suits them, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.  And there are friends who change into enemies, and tell of the quarrel to your disgrace.  And there are friends who sit at your table, but they will not stand by you in time of trouble.  When you are prosperous, they become your second self and lord it over your servants; but if you are brought low, they turn against you and hide themselves from you.  Keep away from your enemies, and be on guard with your friends ... Faithful friends are life-saving medicine, and those who fear the Lord will find them.”  Sirach 6:6-13, 16

Jesus Himself also teaches that “out of the mouth comes the abundance of the heart” – AND – “you will know them by their fruits”.  This passage speaks pretty clearly for itself, but verse 16 pulls us away from worrying too much about having a wide circle of friends and reminds us that “those who fear the Lord will find [friends]”; that is, real friends.  Something must come first; a real relationship with the Lord in prayer, in fasting, in Scripture study, in worship, and in fellowship with “real” disciples.  There will the friends be found, those who share something much more profound than mere “life experiences”.  Sharing in the faith and enduring in the faith are where real friends will be finally and completely tested; it is no more or less so than preparing for marriage.  If we let our emotions run away with our minds, it is almost a given that disaster and disappointment are waiting because we did not “gain [these friends] through testing”; the trials and tribulations of life.

We all have “associates” and we all have “acquaintances”, but those who can be truly called “friend” may be far and few.  It’s ok, though; better to have one true friend (“one in a thousand”) than many who cannot be trusted.  The people of the Church, the Body of Christ, must necessarily be among the “few” whom others can trust.  We are the heart and soul of Messiah; and if others cannot trust us as we claim to be one with Messiah, how can they learn to trust Messiah?

Let us be found faithful and true, for these are the heart and soul of our salvation in the Lord.



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