A True Friend
By Greg Quinn
August 17th, 2015
Proverbs 18:24: A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
We all have friends. Some have close friends and several of them. Some have many friends who are not all that close. Many of us have so-called friends who are really acquaintances, and true friends are few.
Some people think that if they have a lot of Twitter followers that they have a lot of friends. Some people think that if they have a lot of Facebook “friends” or “likes” that they have a lot of friends. But are these really friends, or just acquaintances? Are they people you know, or people you could depend upon when needed, no matter the cost?
I myself have many acquaintances. Acquaintances in business, and acquaintances personally. Many of these acquaintances I have a friendly relationship with, and many would consider them as friends. But I have very few true friends. A true friend, according to this scripture, and as discovered in my own life, is one that sticks closer than a brother. Someone that can be depended on in good times and in bad. Someone who is there for you regardless. These are friends.
Tony Tennison is a good friend of mine.
Tony and I have been close friends since 1983.
We had much in common. Both
our fathers were pastors. We were
both called by God into the ministry. We
played in a Christian band together. We
developed a side business together years ago.
We became very close as friends, and have remained close through these
years. Tony is now a pastor of a
successful church, has a daughter and grandchildren.
Today, Tony and I do not see each other very often, but when we do it is
like we were together just yesterday. Tony
has been a friend that “sticks closer than a brother”.
Frank Bell is a good friend of mine. Frank has been a pastor of a Tennessee church for over 40 years. I met him back in 1986 when I moved back to Tennessee from Mississippi to work on a large NASA project. I started going to his church, became his Youth Pastor, and over the years developed a very strong work and personal relationship. I talked to Brother Frank this morning, and do often. We have experienced good times and bad together, and through it all, I know I can count on him and he sticks “closer than a brother”.
Mike McCain is a good friend of mine. Mike and I met when I was working on a NASA project in Tennessee. Mike is the kind of guy whom everyone likes, and can make everyone laugh. Which is funny in itself because he used to be a “goon” within US Intelligence. Mike and I communicate weekly and see each other as often as we can. We work together in another business, and we both know that if any of us ever need anything, the other one will be there. Mike is the definition of a friend who “sticks closer than a brother”.
Some of us have friends at certain times of our lives when, at that time, they were a true friend. One that “sticks closer than a brother”. But things change. You move away. Someone dies. Life happens. Things change. We have all had friends during High School or College, for example, that while they were your dearest friend during that period of time, you haven’t heard from them in many years.
Some friends we move off and leave. Anthony
Robinson was my dearest friend in Mississippi.
I had been just a few years out of college, had moved to Ohio to the big
city to work, and then moved to a small down in rural Mississippi to take a new
job. I met Tony at the first church
we visited, and the one we ended up joining, and he became for many years my
dearest friend. We hunted together,
fished together, ate together, had our families together every week.
When times were good, he was there.
When times were bad, he was there. But,
after several years, I took a job out of state and moved away, and our
friendship drifted apart just because of the miles.
Some friends die. Carl Kulungian and I became very dear friends. We met when his company in California supported the NASA project I was ramping up back in 1988. Carl and I were very different. He was from Armenian ancestry; my background was “Tennessee hillbilly” and family ancestry from Ireland. He was a city boy and I a country boy. He was very successful in business, and very rich. I was not rich at all. But there was something between us that clicked, and we became very dear friends. Long after I had left the aerospace industry for other work, and moved several more times, Carl and I remained very close and talked regularly. I saw him when I could, and he came even to our Quinn family reunion several times. About a year ago I received notice that he had died in his sleep. My heart stopped. While I still grieve my friend, I know I will see him again in Heaven.
I could go on, but I won’t. I think I have made my point. And I think many of you can relate. You have had “best friends” in High School that you no longer even know where they live, what they do, or whom they married. You have had friends that were pulled apart by miles, and you have had friends who have died and left you here. But we remember those true friends, the ones that you feel would have stuck with you through thick or thin, and who, in according to the Proverbs language, were one who “sticks closer than a brother”.
Many of us have brothers. We can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family. Some would not have chosen the family they have; nothing you can do about that. But some of us are very proud of our family, including our brothers. I am included.
I have three brothers, two of which I work with in Gunblast.com. It’s an honor to be part of something so significant as Gunblast.com, but to do so with two of your brothers, this is truly a blessing. My brothers Jeff and Boge work with me in Gunblast.com. My baby brother Anthony (Mule we call him) has another occupation. I am very close to all three of my brothers. Growing up we fought like cats and dogs, especially Jeff and I. From the outside, it might appear that we didn’t love each other at all. But let someone else try to fight one of my brothers, then I’d jump in the middle of that fight. Today, there are still times when we brothers do not agree. We still fight (but not physically like when we were kids) at times. But that’s just working through the challenges of life together. Through it all, I know and so do my brothers, that we love each other very much, and there is practically nothing that I would not do for one of my brothers, or they for me.
In this passage of scripture, the writer of the Proverbs reminds us that
for us to have a friend we need to be a friend.
Some people do not have friends because they don’t have time, they are
preoccupied with other things, or they simply don’t know how to be a friend.
If we are to have a friend, we
are to be a friend.
For the friends you have, be a friend to them just as you would expect them to be a friend to you. Listen to them, spend time with them, talk to them, share with them, be there for them. Be a friend.
I’d say that for most if not all of us, there are very few friends that “stick closer than a brother”. I’d give my life for one of my brothers. But do we have friends that we would do that for? Many in the military have bonded on the battlefield with people that they would give their lives for, and this bond remains. But for most of us, this level of friendship is very hard to find, and hard to keep.
When Solomon, considered the wisest man who ever lived, and the writer of the Proverbs, penned this passage under the inspiration of God, I believe he was mindful of a friendship way beyond what most of our minds can comprehend. He spoke of a bond of friendship that far surpassed that of family. He spoke of a relationship that greatly exceeded that of any brother. He spoke of a friendship that was so far outreaching that it could not even be likened to any normal earthly friendship or family relationship. He spoke of a friendship with God.
There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
You may have close family relationships, and I hope you do. You may be very close to your brothers or sisters, or mom and dad, or cousins or uncles or grandchildren. You may have friendships that are so close that you cannot imagine a better relationship. But even your best friendship cannot compare to the relationship you can personally have with God.
God, the Creator of the universe, the one who made you, the one who created all life, this same God desires to have a relationship with you. God created man for fellowship with Him. He desires this fellowship with you. God loved you before you were born. God had great plans for you before you came to be. God loved you so much that, when the sin of mankind broke the relationship with God, He sent his own Son Jesus to take the penalty of sin upon himself, die in your place, and create for you an eternal friendship with God. This is the friendship that “sticks closer than a brother”.
If you know God, if you have accepted His love by accepting the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on your behalf, then you know the kinship with God that you possess, and the best relationship we as humans can ever experience. If you know God as Savior but not as Friend, then you need to kindle this relationship with God where you get closer and can truly experience the love that God has for you. If you don’t know God, then this needs to be your priority more than any other. God sent his Son Jesus to die for your wrong-doing, and to establish anew the relationship between God and you. God loves you and wants to be involved in every area of your life. All you have to do is let him in. I ask that you do this today.
Would you like to have a friend closer than any family relationship you might ever encounter? Would you like to have a friend that you can depend on no matter the circumstances of life? Would you like to have a friend that you can lean on, talk to, be with, any time day or night, regardless of time zone or location or richness or poverty or health or sickness? You won’t find this relationship within your family tree. You won’t find this relationship on Facebook. You won’t find this relationship in High School. You won’t find this relationship in your hunting club. You won’t find this relationship at work. You will not even find this relationship within your own household. This relationship is so strong, so unbreakable, so committed, that it can only come from God himself. Today, accept the relationship that is available to you through Jesus Christ the Son of God. Find a Bible. Read through the book of Romans. Think about what is being said to you. Accept that Jesus lived and died to establish for you the best relationship you can ever experience, the closeness of a pure love relationship between you and your Creator.
This is the relationship that “sticks closer than a brother”.
May God richly bless you this day and throughout your life.