After suffering through unimaginable hardship the likes that many had never seen or even had to endure, the Pilgrims were helped by their new friends, the Wampanoag Nation. This tribe of Native Americans helped the haggard newcomers to this land survive their first bitter winter. If it weren’t for them, things would have been so different. These new friends, provided by God, and the Pilgrims, took the first steps in building a great nation.
The third kernel on the Pilgrims’ plates reminds us of the friends that God has provided us. Friends, especially close friends, help in times of need and are there to lend an ear, a hand or a shoulder when needed.
In chapter twenty-seven of the Book of Proverbs, the author writes, “The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
When we need help and guidance, going to close friends is the first step in working through a problem. Seeking counsel, especially the counsel of a good friend, helps get us through the problem. They may not have an answer, but their words of encouragement provide us with the strength to face our problems. The other thing that friends, especially Christian friends do, is that they pray with us.
When we get into situations that seem so insurmountable, we sometimes forget about our faith. It is so easy to do. Our minds are off elsewhere and we are thinking about everything else and wondering “what if”. Our faith becomes something that we push down our list of priorities and we tend to only see the problem and we try to work the problems on our own.
When we feel that we are at our wits’ end, that is when we stop for a moment and ask for guidance. A close Christian friend is a blessing and a Godsend to us. We can go to them for help and guidance. We can pray together and seek God’s wisdom in dealing with the issues in our lives. A friend helps us take that first step back to our faith.
Jesus, in chapter eighteen, tells us, “For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
So, when we come together as followers and friends, Jesus is right there with us and providing us with the strength and help that we desperately need. It is one of the most powerful moments we can share as Christians. The gates of hell itself cannot prevail against this gathering.
Jesus, in the same chapter just a little earlier, says this to us, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.”
So, you see a friend is a very wonderful gift from the Father especially when that friend is a Christian friend. As brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we have an awesome responsibility to build up and encourage our friends in their times of need.
For example, the pandemic has been the source of not only death but also loneliness, depression and even suicide. It is only through friendship that people are able to get through these tough times.
Dale Carnegie once said, “Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
It has been 400 years since that very first Thanksgiving. Two groups of people with different languages and backgrounds came together to celebrate not only the blessings of a bountiful harvest but also the blessings of friendship.
So, as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends, thank God for the blessings of a strong friendship. Friends are indeed a gift straight from the heart and hand of God.
The author of Ecclesiastes writes, in chapter four, this about companionship, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Friends can do so much when they work together. They can support one another during times of adversity, pray for one another in hardship and celebrate the blessings from Father God during the good times.
By being a good friend to those in need, you will be blessed and be able to stand firm in His grace.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.