Making Friends or A Fortune

Scripture

Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard and denying himself any pleasure? This is useless, too – and a miserable way to live.

~Ecclesiastes 4:8, GNT

Quote

In a world driven by reckless ambition, it is wise to build enduring relationships.

~David George Moore

There are many diversions and distractions that hinder us from building relationships. Some of them may be impossible to avoid but not all. The first clock was invented in 1656 and we’ve been in a hurry since. Some have suggested that the world was a better place in the B.C. “before clocks.” One lady had her day scheduled in 15 minute increments: when a friend asked her for a favor, she said, “I’m sorry but I can’t work that into my schedule.” In our technological age where we can do everything faster, we seem to have less time than ever for relationships. We are busy, busy, busy and we work, work, work but at the end of the day we come home tired and lonely. It’s an unfortunate fact, this money hungry, success driven generation is lonely. Most folks are building their own personal kingdom instead of building relationships. Some are so ambitious that they have sacrificed their children on the altar of success. A¬†person who pursues wealth and success at the expense of family and friends will end up alone. I have seen it before, I am seeing it now and it is going to continue to happen unless we change our priorities. Do you want to end up alone? I’m telling you folks, greed will rob you of your future happiness because money makes a poor companion.

What do we do to avoid ending up alone? First of all, we need to be pro-active. An old aphorism states: “I went out to look for a friend and they were nowhere to be found. I went out to make a friend and they were everywhere.” Instead of making money, we must concentrate on making friends. I spoke with a good friend last night. I would put my life in his hands. Time and time again, this man has demonstrated his loyal friendship to the Bailey’s. Every time I try to thank him, he brushes it off as nothing. I’m currently serving a small church on the other side of the County and already, I have made new friends. I love these people and I’m already grieving as I think about my last Sunday with them which is coming up soon. We must be pro-active: to have friends, we must be one. Secondly, we have to beware of every form of greed. Not only can greed destroy a relationship, it can keep it from happening. When people love money, it becomes their god and a priority. In their vain pursuit of wealth, they sacrifice the most precious things in life. Our lust for power is another hindrance to relationships: instead of loving people, we use people to get what we want. Manipulative people have shallow relationships.

I’m not going to poor mouth, that would be wrong. Thanks to good advice from older, wiser folks than myself, we sacrificed in our middle years and made some investments. We don’t have enough money to get everything we want but we have enough to meet our needs and to help others. I found out last week that the government is going to force me to draw out my 401-k so that can get their tax money. At age 70 and a half, they will decide how much we draw a month. Some one told me the other day that if push comes to shove, the U.S. will do like Greece and take it all. There is no such thing as financial security–if you think so, you’re dreaming. I’m not going to lose sleep over the money, it belongs to LORD anyway. The all-powerful federal government may have the power to take my riches but they can’t take my relationships and it’s my relationships that make me a truely rich man.

Jesus said in Luke 16:9…“Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.” Good advice!

It’s amazing: I preached on encountering hurting people Sunday {Story of Good Samaritan} and inadvertently bumped into a hurting soul yesterday evening. I’ve known the man for years but recently, I spoke in the church he attends and something in the message spoke to his heart. Somehow, it has deepened our relationship and yesterday, he shared his life story with me. It is a touching testimony but the kind he cannot share in public because it deals with a broken home and I know this man would never say or do anything to hurt either of his parents although they have hurt him. The divorce happened 30 years ago but the hurt is still as fresh as if it happened last week. He will never see his mom and dad on the same page or in the same room and it is a painful reality to bear; one that his only sibling [brother] couldn’t bear so he turned to drugs. I’m telling you folks, there are hurting people all around us. Eugene Peterson said, “There is nothing I am less good at than love.” I had to let that statement sink in–he is saying, “I’m better at everything else than I am love.” Competition, achieving¬† goals, manipulating people, improving skills, you name it but opening myself up to the risk of showing love seems to be so hard. Why? The answer is PRIDE. Old Eugene nailed me: I’m feeling very guilty.

Yesterday was not bad weather wise. It turned out to be a nice day. I hope you have a good day today. Thanks for praying for cousin Karen, she had a better day yesterday.

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

May 3

11:30-12:30 a.m.

Central Baptist Church Fountain

 

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