Don’t boast about tomorrow,
for you don’t know what the day may bring.
Luke 12:19-20 (NIV)
And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?“
2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth,
a stranger and not your own lips.
3 Stone is heavy and sand a dead weight,
but a fool’s provocation outweighs them both.
4 Fury is cruel and anger overwhelming,
but who can stand up to jealousy?
5 Better open rebuke
than hidden love.
6 Wounds from a friend are received as well-meant,
but an enemy’s kisses are insincere.
Or as Oscar Wilde put it: True friends stab you in the front.
7 A person who is full loathes a honeycomb;
but to the hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.
8 Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who strays from his home.
9 Perfume and incense make the heart glad,
[also] friendship sweet with advice from the heart.
Friends . . .
Be slow to fall into friendship, but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.
My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
The only way to have a friend is to be one.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friends . . . they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams.
~Henry David Thoreau
10 Don’t abandon a friend
who is also a friend of your father.
Don’t enter your brother’s house on the day of your calamity —
better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
11 My son, become wise, and gladden my heart,
so that I can answer my critics.
Having raised three children from birth to college graduation and beyond, I do believe that one of the great joys of parenting is enjoying your children later, when they are competent and interesting adults. How grateful I am that the Lord has been strong in my weaknesses as a mother and has brought my kids into responsible, kindly adulthood.
12 The clever see trouble coming and hide;
the thoughtless go on and pay the penalty.
13 Seize his clothes because he guaranteed a stranger’s loan;
take them as security for that unknown woman.
14 Whoever greets his neighbor in a loud voice at dawn
might just as well have cursed him.
15 A leak that keeps dripping on a rainy day
and the nagging of a wife are the same —
16 whoever can restrain her can restrain the wind
or keep perfume on his hand from making itself known.
17 Just as iron sharpens iron,
a person sharpens the character of his friend.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
IRON SHARPENS IRON
The Christian life is a pilgrimage. At times the road is difficult, and we get lonely. Sometimes we may become discouraged and consider abandoning the journey. It is at such times that God will place a friend alongside us. One of God’s most precious gifts to us is friends who encourage us and lovingly challenge us to “keep going.”
According to Scripture, a friend is one who challenges you to become all that God intends. Jonathan could have succeeded his father to become the next king of Israel. But he loved his friend David, and he encouraged him to follow God’s will, even though it meant Jonathan would forfeit his own claim to the throne (1 Samuel 19:1-7).
The mark of biblical friends is that their friendship draws you closer to Christ. They “sharpen” you and motivate you to do what is right. True friends tell you the truth and even risk hurting your feelings because they love you and have your best interests at heart (see Proverbs 27:6, above).
Be careful in your choice of friends! Jesus chose his closest friends wisely. He did not look for perfect friends, but friends whose hearts were set to follow God. It is equally important to examine the kind of friend you are to others. As a friend, it is your duty to put the needs of others first (Proverbs 17:17). Strive to find godly friends who will challenge you to become the person God desires. When you have found them, be receptive to the way God uses them to help you become spiritually mature. Strive also to be the kind of friend that helps others become more like Christ.
18 Whoever tends the fig tree will eat its fruit,
and he who is attentive to his master will be honored.
19 Just as water reflects the face,
so one human heart reflects another.
20 Sh’ol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and human eyes are never satisfied.
The Contemporary English Version puts it this way:
Death and the grave
are never satisfied,
and neither are we.
A perfect illustration of this truth is found in a powerful short story by Leo Tolstoy. (James Joyce said it is “the greatest story that that the literature of the world knows.”) Tolstoy tells of a farmer who had a lust for more and more land. Finally, he heard of cheap land among the Bashkirs. Click HERE to read “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” Or — Click HERE to listen to the story being read.
When I taught 10th grade English, this story was in the textbook. At the end of the year, when I asked students which one was their favorite reading, this story was frequently mentioned. I promise you, you will enjoy it!
21 The crucible [tests] silver, and the furnace [tests] gold,
but a person [is tested] by [his reaction to] praise.
22 You can crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle,
along with the grain being crushed;
yet his foolishness will not leave him.
23 Take care to know the condition of your flocks,
and pay attention to your herds.
24 For wealth doesn’t last forever,
neither does a crown through all generations.
25 When the hay has been mown, and the new grass appears,
and the mountain greens have been gathered;
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
the goats will sell for enough to buy a field,
27 and there will be enough goat’s milk
to [buy] food for you and your household
and maintenance for your servant-girls.
A lot about friends and friendship today. How grateful we are that Jesus is our ever faithful friend! HERE is Casting Crowns and “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.” Jesus is always good.