A Millionaire with Friends!

I have a humorous reminder of the need for true friends. It is a cartoon depicting the sad occasion of a funeral visitation. It pictures two men standing before the casket of a deceased friend and contemplating their loss. One man laments, “I don’t understand why we are the only mourners here. He had more than 500 friends on his social media account!” Now, this is not a bashing of various online connections, but it is more a celebration of the face-to-face, tried and true variety of relating that we all need. There is no substitute for this blessing!

We recently returned from our annual Texas vacation where we have a network of sweet friends. It has been our practice when possible to reconnect with them each summer while visiting our son and his family. Having lived in the Lone Star State for nearly 15 years, we put down some relational roots that have been enduring. Of course, we have cultivated just as many friends living back in Illinois these past 26 years as well.

The old hymn about blessing calls us to count them, name them one by one! I can make a list of some of those special people in my life near and far. My family is at the top of the list! Indulge me a moment while I celebrate these relationships that continue to enrich Monique and me. Some of these are newer while others are older connections. This is only a representative list and I’ll only mention a few: Milton, Cecil, Kevin, Brad, Frank, Dale, JoAnn, Lew, Carla, Linda, Lahne, Will, Dean, Bob, Alan, Debbie, Lora, Wanda, Joy, Roy, Glenn, David, Joel, Sunny, Joe, and Hollie.

The Apostle Paul liked to list his friends. Romans 16 has a pretty good listing that includes: Priscilla and Aquila, Epaenetus, Mary, Andronicus and Junia, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus. Elsewhere in Paul’s letters he lists John Mark, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy and Tychicus. Paul thanks God for these dear friends and he prays over them all, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen!”

I have boasted for years that I am a millionaire with friends. I have cherished time spent with each of them and have grieved when death and circumstances have changed things. What do I receive from these relational connections? Love, joy, encouragement, mentoring, direction, guidance, support, advice, inspiration and so much more! These friends have been there for me during the up and down times of my life. I have cried with some of them, laughed uproariously with others, and often received counsel in meaningful conversation that has made me a better person and servant of the Lord. My hope and prayer is that I have given back to them in some measure the same encouragement and blessing they have been to me.

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “two are better than one” and that a “cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccles. 4:9,12). That is the value, strength and purpose of God’s design in friendship. Two friends, three friends, and a “million” true friends shape, influence, and enrich our lives in unbelievable ways! How are you set for friends today? If you are a little short on this indispensable resource, begin to build relational bridges to others that may blossom into some life-changing friendships. You too, may be saying in time, “I’m a millionaire with friends!”

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


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