Sixth in the series.
And He sent them out two by two.
I am glad about the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, for what was lacking on your part they supplied. For they refreshed my spirit…. (I Corinthians 16:17-18).
Don’t try this alone.
If the Apostle Paul was the great role model for preachers–and he surely must be–then no minister of the gospel should ever go it alone. Look at the friends he mentions in Romans 16 and I Corinthians 16. The apostle was awash with friends.
If ever a minister needed friends, Paul did. If ever a man had friends, he did. But there were times when he needed a companion and none were to be found. Reading 2 Timothy 4, we feel the pain of a lonely man abandoned by his friends as well as the comfort of one finding the Lord’s presence to be all-sufficient.
Paul did not choose loneliness. Nor should we. “It is not good for man to be alone,” said our Creator, who surely knew the creature He had fashioned.
He knew you would be needing friends.
The minister who considers himself a loner needing no one else has an unbiblical view of the Lord’s work. The Lord never sent a man to do His work alone. When He chose disciples, He chose an even dozen.
You’re going to be needing a dozen great friends also.
And, if a pastor needs an even dozen good friends in the Lord’s work, at least three or four should be the kind of intimate friends who are confidants. A friend is a colleague in the ministry with whom one has a great deal in common, and whom you respect for their commitment and dedication.
A confidant is someone who can handle confidential stuff. A confidant understands your heartbeat and prays for you regularly. He rejoices with you and he weeps with you.
Our Lord had His dozen apostles, but three–Peter, James and John–were His inner circle. His intimate friends.
Even Jesus needed friends.
Here are a few reasons the effective pastor will be needing a number of friends in the ministry…
–to share ideas
–to enjoy fellowship with their families, and the occasional meal with their wives.
–to pray for one another.
–to listen, to weep, to rejoice, to care.
–to be quiet together.
–to speak the hard truths, to give needful correction. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” says Proverbs 27:6.
Joel Davis was my roommate during the years God was doing some transforming things in my life. We shared an apartment three blocks from my college and a mile from our church. Over a period of two or three years, I went to college while Joel managed the office of a trucking company. We dated together (he had the car!), sang in the church choir together, and did a hundred things which friends do. In my wedding, he stood beside me as best man. Over the years since, Joel and I have seen each other maybe once a decade. Once he told me, “Wilma and I pray for you every day.” That stunned me. But it’s what friends do.
Yesterday as I write, a pastor friend called from another state. He is doing a wedding and the couple has asked for something unusual in the service. He wanted my thoughts on the subject. I ended up giving him the name of another minister who would be perfect to speak to that issue. The conversation was brief. It’s what friends do.
If you have such a small cadre of friends, why not acknowledge to them how much they mean to you? And make sure you keep them.
You’re going to be needing them.