Verse of the Day

"Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself."

~I Samuel 18:1

Today's Devotional Thought

July 03, 2017 by Rachel Piferi


Holy Friendship

In Sunday school recently, we studied one of my favorite passages of Scripture. In fact, as our teacher was introducing what our lesson was about, my eyes started brimming with tears because this topic, and the people we studied, are beyond precious to me. And as I sat and listened, my heart was reminded once again of the importance of this topic.

And I started to think how we, as women, do it all wrong.

Our topic in Sunday school recently was friendship. And our Scripture was I Samuel 18 where we are told about the friendship of David and Jonathan.

In the first part of I Samuel 18, we are told that God knitted the heart of Jonathan to the heart of David. And we are told that Jonathan loved David as his own soul. We are also told that he gave David his robe and armor and sword and belt and bow. In that one sweeping gesture of giving David all of his royal and military pieces, he was giving David his very own life.

In this one exchange, Jonathan was showing David that all he had was now David's. He held nothing back. All he had was available now to David. He laid it all down for his friend.

It's a very familiar story to me and one that I hold dear because of the symbolism it holds in my own life. And ever since we studied this, I couldn't stop thinking about the lesson in this for us all. I couldn't stop thinking about how I am afraid we approach friendship (and all relationships) all wrong. And as a result, so many of us miss the rich blessing that both Jonathan and David received.

Modern day theories of relationships and friendships conclude that people stay in relationships as long as they are getting out of them what they feel they are giving to them. As long as it is equal and there is an equal exchange between the friends, people are happy. And when people are happy in relationships and satisfied with what they're getting from them, the friendship continues. Or so, modern Psychology tells us.

I've thought a lot about all these theories of relationships recently. How they focus on our own satisfaction in friendships. How they focus on our own happiness. And I thought about how wrong we are to focus merely on what we get from others. What a fleshly, carnal response to something beautiful God has given us.

What if Jonathan only gave David what he could give back in return?

What if Jonathan stood in front of the former shepherd boy and said, "I love you. And, I'll give you my armor in exchange for something you have for me?"

Or, what if he said, "I'll give you my robe and let you be king in my place if you give me your..."

Or what if Jonathan said, "You know, this really isn't working for me. I am a prince. And I have a lot to give to you and I'll willingly do that, but I'm afraid it's looking like there is little I'm really going to get back in exchange. So, I'm not sure this is going to work."

It all sounds a bit silly knowing how beautiful this friendship really was. And yet, so many of us say these very same things in our own friendships when we just don't feel like we are getting out of our friends what we're putting in. We may not use the words, but our actions reveal our desire to stay in friendships only if we are getting out of them as much as we're putting into them. So often we focus on our own needs and not the needs of the other.

So often we focus on our own happiness. Our own needs. Our own desires.

And by doing that {and honestly most probably don't even realize they're doing that}, we just may be missing one of the most beautiful friendships of our lives because we are too focused on our needs and not the needs of the other person. We are focused on what we can get and not what we have to give.

Instead of approaching our friends with "This is what I need from you..." What if we approached our friendships with "This is what I have for you..."

This is what I have...take it.

My robe. My sword. My belt. My armor. My bow.

It's what I have. And because I love you as much as I love my own soul, its yours if you need it.

Instead of approaching others out of a deficit of love and therefore entering friendship looking to receive from others, what if we approached others with an abundance of love and therefore entering our friendships with a spirit of offering the other all we have.

I dare say we'd be blessed in our friendships beyond our wildest imaginations.

And I dare say we'd find a David and Jonathan type of friendship.

So many people read the story of David and Jonathan and yearn to have a Jonathan in their lives. They want someone to offer that kind of loyalty and allegiance. But, what if the point of the story is not to show us what we could receive from another, but rather to show us how to be for another. The solution to rich friendship is not to look for a Jonathan. It is to be a Jonathan.

It would be incomplete to write on this passage without acknowledging that God did this. God knit the heart of Jonathan to the heart of David. He gave Jonathan this supernatural love that only comes from him. And he did it because he had a mighty role for Jonathan to play in David's story.

We have so much we can learn from this precious friendship. But above all, we must grow daily in our sacrificial love for others. We must lay down our lives daily to love and serve others. And when you do, you just may find the most beautiful friendship of your life.

Built on concern and love for the other over concern for yourself.

A love like Jesus has for us.

Friendship is very important. But, we just may be doing it all wrong.

We're looking for happiness.

When we should be looking for holiness.

I encourage you to truly examine how you have approached friendship. Have you looked at potential friends in terms of what you could receive from them? How they could make your life richer and more complete? How they could satisfy your needs?

Or have you looked at potential friends in terms of what you could give to them? How you could help them live God's story for their lives? How you could give and love and spur them on?

I believe that slight perspective switch could make all the difference in our friendships. It could change our perspective on friendship from earthly to eternal. From focused on me to focused on the other. From focused on what I can get to what I can give.

From happiness to holiness.

It's a beautiful love when someone gives all they have. It's a love like Jesus. And it's the love that is at the very foundation of a rich, eternal friendship.

I pray you think today of how you could love your friends like Jonathan. How you can love your friends like Jesus.

Because once we do, we will find the most amazing friendships of our lives.

Memorize this verse today:

"Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself."
~I Samuel 18:1

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