Friendships’ Benefits

by | Jan 30, 2022 | Example, Friendship, Influence

“Welcome [Epaphroditus] in the Lord’s love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve.” (Philippians 2:29 NLT)

Both were named Mike, both were good friends, and both had vastly different influences on me.

I met the first Mike when I was 15. My dad had been called as pastor of the church where Mike and his family attended. I was in the rebellious stages of adolescence … and so was Mike. He had experimented with a little more than I had and was eager to introduce me to alcohol, drugs, and cutting school. I was eager to follow his lead — and did. Mike was a good friend — and would have done anything for me, but his influence was negative.

I met the second Mike shortly after graduating high school when I started work at a local metal fabrication plant. He worked in quality control and had a desk in the warehouse where I worked. Mike had recently become a believer and was eager to please God with his actions and attitudes. At the time, I was still a little rough around the edges. Mike kept me sanded down. Every time I cursed, Mike gently called my name. Every time he saw or heard me committing wrongful actions, he lovingly rebuked me. Rather than get mad at Mike, I appreciated his concern for me and shaped up around him.

Forty years have passed since I hung around with the first Mike and about 34 since the second Mike. But I remember their influences well. So did Paul when it came to Epaphroditus. Paul was in prison. Epaphroditus delivered a gift to him from the believers at Philippi.

— Good friends hold me accountable rather than lead me into unwise and unhealthy attitudes and actions. I’ll appreciate their rebukes because I know that they have my best interests in mind.

— Good friends show me unconditional love. Regardless of how I act or respond to their efforts, they will continue to love me as Christ does.

— Good friends are always willing to lend me a helping hand. Helping me may inconvenience them … but they don’t mind.

— Good friends and I share a common bond — belief in Jesus Christ as our Saviour — and build our friendship on that foundation.

Wanting to be a good friend as well, I will return these favours for my friends.

Develop friendships that lift you up … not bring you down. Don’t let just any Mike into your life.

Prayer: Father, lead us into friendships with other believers who will enhance our journey with You. Amen.

Martin Wiles
Greenwood, South Carolina, USA

Reprinted with author’s permission from PresbyCan


Friendships’ Benefits