Friendship and comradery are strange things. Over the years I have come to be surprised to find out that in the church, somebody has become great friends with someone else. I have found myself asking, “How did they get linked up” as friends because it seems like they have little in common.
One of my dear friends is like that to me. When I met Fred Froman in the fall of 1975 when I went to Maranatha Baptist Bible College, I was initially impressed with his size (6’ 6” and perhaps 250 lbs at the time). But when I asked him if he played football or basketball and he said no, I wrote him off as a person who was wasting a great physical gift. He liked art! Not my cup of tea. It seemed like we had little upon which to build a friendship. So while we knew each other in college (we worked together in our freshman year as class officers), and had some classes together, there was no real friendship there. We just had nothing in common outside of being brothers in Christ.
Little did I know that Fred would become a dear friend and colleague. Sometime after college, Fred went to work with my father-in-law, Pastor David Cummins, as his assistant at Faith Baptist, Warren, Michigan. At the time, Michal and I were up in Columbiaville getting our feet wet in the ministry and we would often visit in Warren with mom and dad Cummins. This afforded me the opportunity to be around Fred at the church and we would talk ministry stuff. I found I was getting to enjoy our time together.
In 1988 I felt called of God to go to Walled Lake, my hometown, and begin a new church; Lakes Baptist (now Lakes Bible). At the very same time, Fred was called as the pastor of First Baptist Farmington and we both found ourselves in new ministries just a few miles from each other. That is when our friendship really solidified. I found I liked talking with Fred. I liked his spirit, humility, and insights concerning ministry changes we were contemplating. Our families became close; we both have children of similar ages. I began to see in Fred a real benefit to me. He became a valuable source of mutual contemplation. I also recognized that he was a serious man of God who wanted nothing more than to serve the King. In essence, I “latched on to him” as a friend.
There are just certain people to which you want to “hitch your wagon”. That is to say, there is something about them that attracts you, that perhaps inspires you, or otherwise motivates you to get to know them better and be in the circle of their acquaintance and influence.
Such was the case with David’s mighty men. In 1 Chronicles 12 David is still “on the lam” from Saul. But while on the run, God directs to him a small army of men who make him their leader. Everyone knew that David was on the run from Saul. But everyone also knew of the integrity of David and his great prowess as a warrior against the enemies of God. So many who also found themselves disaffected in the reign of Saul, gravitated to David and became, as it were, outlaws with him.
Among these men, a special thirty became known as “David’s mighty men”. As they were in the process of forming into this cadre of the faithful to David, this thirty from Benjamin and Judah came to the stronghold to “join up”. David said to them, “”If you have come to me in friendship to help me, my heart will be joined to you; but if to betray me to my adversaries, although there is no wrong in my hands, then may the God of our fathers see and rebuke you.” (v. 17). It is just here in v. 18 that we read, “Then the Spirit clothed Amasai, chief of the thirty, and he said, “We are yours, O David, and with you, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, and peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.” Then David received them and made them officers of his troops.
These men saw something in David. They saw that God was strong with him. They saw his might, his integrity, his wisdom, his compassion, and his skill. There was just something about David that drew them to him. Amasai summed it by simply saying, “For your God helps you.”
I wonder if anyone is drawn to us because they sense “your God helps you”. In New Testament terminology, we might put it this way, “I see Christ in you.” Sometimes people are drawn to position. Sometimes they are drawn to power or personality. Sometimes they are drawn to the wealthy, notable, accomplished, or celebrated. But how many are drawn because it is evident that God blesses someone and “their God helps them” because they see Christ in them.
I’m challenged by this. I’m afraid that too often, anyone that might be drawn to me, is not drawn because they see Christ in me. Some perhaps are drawn to me because I have the position of pastor. Other might be drawn to me because I’m a preacher. But how many (any?) are drawn to me because they see Christ in me?
We all will be drawn to certain people. I only hope that those to whom we are most closely drawn are “attractive” to us because “God helps them; because Christ can be seen in them”. Those are the kind of people to whom I need to be more closely drawn. You?