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It has been said that one good friend is more valuable than a thousand acquaintances. It’s true that a real friend is a great blessing, and sadly, all too often, a rarity.

What is friendship?

While friendships are certainly characterized by emotional connection and positive chemistry between people, they are much more than this. Real friendships are all about lifting, helping, encouraging and challenging growth in one another. They are about care, commitment, endurance and longevity. They are about selflessness. They are about deep bonds of loyalty and devotion.

One of the great stories of friendship in the Bible is that of David and his dear friend Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of Israel’s first king, Saul. He was heir-apparent to his dad’s throne. But Jonathan knew something that caused him to freely forfeit his right to succeed his father. He knew that a young man named David was God’s pick to lead the nation.

Denying pride and jealousy, and giving no thought to any personal ambitions, Jonathan graciously became David’s friend and helper. He encouraged David in tough times. He protected him from destructive schemes. He pledged and demonstrated loyalty to David over and over again. Jonathan did everything he possibly could to help David reach his God-designed destiny as the King of Israel. What an amazing friend!

Although Jonathan’s life unfortunately ended prematurely, David never forgot him, and never stopped appreciating his friendship. Many years after Jonathan’s death, David asked a question that revealed his enduring gratitude for his great friend:

“Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” — 2 Samuel 9:1

From this inquiry David located Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth. Mephibosheth was poor, depressed and disabled, but David befriended him, took him in and took care of him for the rest of his life. He did this as statement of his abiding appreciation for Jonathan.

The lesson?

Friendships impact people for a lifetime! You never forget a real friend!

I’m sure we’d all like to have a friend like Jonathan. While we cannot create “Jonathan’s” in our lives, we can choose to be a Jonathan-like friend to someone. Go ahead and be a real friend to somebody. Start today!

Pastor Dale