This last weekend, a number of us went to visit a dear brother whose health is in rapid decline. He has been admitted to a care facility where it seems likely he will see out his last days. We wanted to go see him to encourage him and as we say Down South, “Love on him”. Moreover, we felt it was important to let his family know that their husband/father has touched the lives of many men.
Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Things to think about:
· As our verse in Proverbs 17 points out, when the chips are down, you really do find out who your friends are.
o A couple of chapters later in Proverbs 19:4, it says “Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.”
§ We see the same thing with the prodigal son after his money ran out and he wasn’t a cool kid anymore
o Let’s not be sunny day friends
· Romans 12:15 in The Message says it really well
o “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.”
o You’ll notice that we’re not supposed to necessarily have any answers when they’re down, just hold their hand and cry with them.
· But let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to show up when you’re needed most. Here are a few well-intentioned reasons people might give for not being there:
o I don’t know what to say/do
o It’s awkward
o Not a good day for me, I’m really busy
o I’m sure enough other people will go, I don’t want to create a crowd
· In Proverbs 3, the Bible says we should move past our uneasiness:
o “Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. Don’t tell your neighbor “Maybe some other time” or “Try me tomorrow” (emphasis mine)
o Wow, that’s a powerful concept – your hand is God’s hand for that person
§ How does that change your perception of the importance of the impact you can have on people?
· Jesus says in John 17:20-23, “I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”
o Our friend’s family and the staff at the facility definitely noticed this group of men who came to encourage and pray for their friend. According to Jesus, this is the strongest testimony we can offer an unbelieving world.
o Also (and importantly), our friend noticed. Even though he was unable to speak, his smile and tears spoke volumes.
If you have a friend who needs you now, don’t wait. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow and they need you now.