When determining how wealthy we are in friends, there is only one question that must be asked? What is a friend? The Bible gives us some direction here: A friend is wise, reliable, willing to rebuke us, loves us at all times and is closer than a brother. Presumably, a friend is also someone we like, someone we have things in common with and someone around whom we can be ourselves. On Facebook, some of us have thousands of “friends,” other sad folks have only a few hundred.
Imagine if you truly had a thousand friends who were “closer than a brother.” Where would you find the time to maintain that level of friendship? Of course, that’s impossible. Most of us, if we are blessed, have a handful of people who fit this description.
When we were kids, a friend was a commodity, whoever was at the park, whoever was home, that was your friend. That “friendship” might last only a few hours but even so, it was precious to us. As we grow older, time constraints and some discernment narrow our field of potential friends. They might come from work, church or school or be left over from our crazy high school days but certainly, they are fewer in number and thus even more precious than before.
This makes our decisions even more critical when it comes to maintaining them. We might not have time for all of them, some may slip down and become mere acquaintances. Who to keep? We should want the ones who give us things that money cannot buy—that’s true wealth.
Who will pick up the phone when you call with good news and are desperate to share?
Who will return your urgent text at midnight when you are desperate to cry?
Who will return an invitation within the allotted time?
Who will offer to pick you up something from the store because they are thinking of you?
Who can speak into your life because they know everything that’s going on?
Who will speak into your life?
Who won’t let your birthday go by uncelebrated?
Who will return borrowed things without being prompted?
Who won’t prompt you to return their things?
Who calls you as much as you call them?
Who asks about your day as much as sharing about their own?
Who will say those difficult things when you need to hear them?
Who will spontaneously think of things to pray for you about?
Who picks out the best presents because they know your heart?
Who can easily be put on hold while you tend to your children’s “emergency?”
Who can you be silly with and serious within the same conversation?
Who will let you have that last scoop of guacamole?
Who has seen you at your lowest and it has only brought you closer together?
Who quickly and easily forgives your transgressions?
Who has never asked you to accompany them to the Ice Capades?
Who comes right over to you at church or at a party?
If you are blessed to have even one person who fits even a part of this description (they may also be called wife, husband, brother, sister), then you are rich in friendship indeed.