Good Friends are a Good Thing

My wife has taught me that God brings people into our lives for a reason, a season or for a lifetime. The picture on this blog is of a life-long friend, Kenton Cleveland. Since college days, we’ve never lived near each other. We’ve rarely seen each other in over 30 years, save for a vacation where Kenton’s family visited us in Sandpoint.

I moved out west and he moved to Wichita, working in the aerospace industry as an engineer. What’s funny is he didn’t like me at first… but later warmed up to my endearing personality! Seriously, he’s one of those guys that I know I can always count on when needed. In the past couple of years he’s provided wise counsel as I went through an incredibly tough season in ministry. The picture was taken just a week ago when Kenton was passing through Coeur d’Alene and dropped by for a brief visit. That’s what good friends do—they invest in each other.


5 Reasons why we all need good friends:

  1. Because life is crazy and you’ll need someone to talk to, lean on or cry with. Right now you can probably make a list of people you know who are going through a very rich and rewarding time or a very rough and damaging time. Both seasons require good friends.
  2. Because we’re all hard wired for relationship. It’s unnatural to be alone, and unhealthy. The #1 thing that infants still react to is a human face. It’s also the reason why “Facebook friendships” will always have severe limitations. Tablets are not faces. FB friends often aren’t true friends. Watch a family at a restaurant this week and see how eroded normal face-to-face relationships have become. It might be time to set up a standard that when we meet with our family or friends, we put our smart phones and tablets in a basket on a table and leave them alone for an hour. Honestly, most of us aren’t that important that we need to immediately respond to a text.
  3. Because we’re not that smart. Need I say more? OK, I will. We all have limited experience, intelligence and reasoning ability. A friend can be someone who’s successfully navigated a season of life that you’re in right now and can offer sage advice. Over the course of 30+ years of pastoral ministry, I’ve counseled hundreds of people. I’d say that 90% just needed a good friend to talk to—instead of a pastor who barely knew them. The other 10% needed a good therapist. So find and nurture some good friends, because it’ll save you big bucks in the long run!
  4. Because we tend to stray and need someone who can bring us back to center. A close friend knows what you need when you need it. They can read you like a book. They can tell when you’re down, up or sideways. Find a person you respect and build a friendship where they are allowed to speak into your life.
  5. Because we need to pay it forward. We learn how to be a good friend by having a good friend. There is someone that God has placed in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime, who needs you—to be a good friend.

Of course, the best friend we can ever have is Jesus. One of the most endearing comments he made to his disciples was this; “I no longer call you servants, …Instead, I have called you friends….” (John 15:5)

That’s something worth thinking about.

It is a crazy life… but we have a crazy God who is our friend!

Dr. Tony

Jonathan Schuler