A man of too many friends comes to ruin,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
That is from Proverbs 18:24
I'm in a pensive mood right now... Thinking about this verse and the implications it has.
A man of too many friends comes to ruin...
I can't claim to be an expert on this subject, but if you think about it - if you have "too many" friends, what are you probably doing most of the time? Trying to keep them, of course! And how do you do that? By entertaining them! If you want to have few and personal relationships, you better be honest, open, and sincere... But if you want to have many friends all the time, then you won't have time to get to know them all sincerely! And if you do the math... keeping "too many" friends around makes a man "come to ruin" - it costs money to entertain people! But............... It's more than just financial ruin. It's emotional ruin.
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother...
This part starts out with a "BUT". Meaning that you just heard a description of what will happen to you if you live a certain way, BUT there is a different way to go that won't have the same consequences!
I've found out that having a friend who sticks closer than a brother definitely doesn't cost as much as partying all the time would. And not only does it save you from financial ruin, but also from emotional ruin. Something has to be said here about talking with people and letting out your feelings and emotions. I am not completely sure why, but it seems like most all of us humans are wired to want to let someone (or something) know what we feel... We write in journals and diaries, we talk to friends and pray to God, and we blow up if we don't have an outlet to let our thoughts out with! I think that's where close friends come in. I know that my closest friends let me talk to them about the things I'm concerned about or going through, and I do the same for them! It not only helps to get it out, but your closest friends know you and how that gearbox you call a brain works inside your head. So when you start churning out your thoughts, they can see the bigger picture and it might not be as bad as you thought! Friends are not only there as an outlet... otherwise your teddy bear could be your best friend... Friends are there to see the things you can't and tell you when you need it. I could go on and on about close friends and what it looks like, but I think that most of you know what it looks like already. :)
A friend who sticks closer than a brother?
There is a time when you realize that brothers are here for a season... but they get married and move away. Your family may not always be there for you. But when you start out, there's nothing like having a brother by your side as you're growing up (I don't have any brothers, but I have several friends who have been like brothers to me... And I've tried to be the best brother to my sisters). But I think this verse is trying to make the point that we can find a friend who will stick with us closer than a brother does. God may place them in your life through the work you do, or through the activities you attend, your church, or even your community. But these relationships don't just pop out of the ground overnight... you have to work on them - that's what makes it different than having "many friends" - the time and effort spent is way more than that, but the rewards are way greater as well. ;)
Take time to build your relationships. It's not a piece of cake... it's probably more like 100 cups of coffee and as many afternoons of talking with someone to make a relationship last.
But if there's one thing I've learned in my first 20 years of living... it's that no matter how many friends I have, I only know of a handful that I would trust my life to. And the first and foremost among them is Christ.
I just got done talking with my good friend - the closest friend I have. And I have been missing him since I moved up here to IL. I think that's why I posted this... but whatever the reason, it's something that I've thought about for several years. This verse first captured my attention when I wrote out the book of proverbs about 7 years ago.
I am thankful to God that I have found a friend that sticks to me closer than a brother. :) And I hope you are in the same boat. If not, I surely encourage you to sit down and think about your relationships! If you are walking with God, you are headed in the right direction. God should be first on your friends list. ;) He'll bring more to you as He finds fit.
P.S. When someone else reads Proverbs 18:24, do they think of you? Chew on that for a while... And then go and try to be that close friend to someone else.