Lee Iacocca said, “My father always used to say that when you die, if you’ve got five real friends, then you’ve had a great life.” 

Whenever your phone rings, most often it is because somebody wants something from you. They want to sell you a product or a service. Or they want a favor, assistance, or an advantage you can provide. 

However, there is a deeper level of relationship—it’s called friendship. The Bible says, ‘There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24). At the end of the day, two things count: family and friends. 

Friends are RARE. 

“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget” (Source unknown). The goal here is quality, not quantity. The limitations of time and energy restrict the scope of your inner circle, but all of us need close friends.

Someone said, “True friendship is when you walk into their house and your Wi-Fi connects automatically.” When you find someone you connect with, cultivate that relationship. When they reciprocate, then deep friendship becomes possible. If they fail to respond, don’t lament. Keep your radar operating so you detect the associations intended for you. Remember, in order to have friends you must be friendly (see Proverbs 18:24). 

Acquaintances are many, but true friendships are rare. “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world”, said Brandi Snyder.

Friends CARE.

Heart-felt concern is the basis for meaningful relationships. When “friendship” is used as a commodity for personal advantage, then real friendship does not exist. Manipulators will “cozy up to you” in order to use your influence for their own advancement. A skilled narcissist has mastered the art of appearing sincere, but he is really absorbed in his own agenda. True friends aren’t looking for perks, they genuinely care about you. They want you to succeed, and not just help their cause.

Tony Robbins put it in perspective, “Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.” 

“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies”, said Aristotle. 

Pay attention to those promptings to encourage others. Your text, call, gift, visit, or prayer may be the means to lift a soul drowning in sorrow. Dale Carnegie remarked, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

Concern is the greatest gift you can bestow on a fellow human being. 

Friends SHARE. 

Here’s wise advice from Edgar Watson Howe, “When a friend is in trouble, don’t annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate and do it.” Where a man distributes his treasure is an indication of what, and who, he values. Friends don’t wait for a request, they take initiative and share when a need arises.

Allocation of assets is not limited to physical resources, it includes time and emotional support. Job’s friends came to sit with him in his time of profound loss and grief. There they lingered in silence with Job for seven days. His friends helped him by simply being there. But the moment they opened their mouths, they lost their ministry to their friend. Grieving people don’t need interrogation, they need companionship. Walter Winchell noted, “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

Adversity is the birthplace for lasting relationships. The forge and the fire is where friendships are born. Problems have a way of bringing people together. 

When my mother died, I experienced profound grief. I remember looking up at her funeral and seeing friends from my childhood. Their presence brought comfort. The fact they cared enough to be there meant the world to me. Others drove hours to attend. They took time away from work to share in my time of loss. Real friends are there to share in all seasons, not just the good times.

Friends BEAR your Burdens.

Some burdens are to be shouldered. Other burdens must be shed. But many burdens should be shared. Galatians 6:2 reads, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” A friend is one who “yokes up” with you in hardship. He helps you bear your burden. 

A wise person observed, “A friend who understands your tears is much more valuable than a lot of friends who only know your smile.” In the valleys of life, our friends become evident. They emerge to bear our load with us. Never focus on who is absent. Pay close attention to those who are present—they are your friends. 

Friends FORBEAR. 

“Forbear” means to put up with, to refrain; hold back, to be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation. Your enemies mark your faults and failures. But your friends choose to look beyond your foibles. They graciously give you the benefit of the doubt—they put up with you!

Bernard Meltzer said, “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Aren’t you glad for real friends who stick with you through your stumbles and bumbles? This is the mark of a true friend.

Forbearance is when people hear you out when you are at your worst. They put up with you on your bad days, realizing they experience bad days as well. Laurence Peter said, “You can always tell a real friend: when you’ve made a fool of yourself he doesn’t feel you’ve done a permanent job.” 

Friends REPAIR. 

All the giants of faith had their low points. Scripture silences the romanticized notion of perfection among biblical heroes. Abraham lied. Noah got drunk. Moses murdered. David committed adultery. Rahab was a harlot. Peter cursed and swore. Yet these and many others are presented as heroes in the Faith Hall of Fame. Hebrews 11 lifts up many who were flawed, yet champions of faith. If murderers, adulterers, liars, and harlots are presented as examples, that means there is hope for us!

Friends are both counselors and confidantes. They help us regain our spiritual balance. They restore perspective within us. They come to the rescue when we lose our way. They assist us in getting up when we fall. They speak with us. They pray for us. They exhort us. They strengthen us. They help restore our souls. 

Friends DARE to stand up for you.

People who value your friendship not only stand with you, they stand up for you. This mean they use their voice and their influence to protect you. They don’t keep quiet in the presence of critics who begin to rip you apart. They speak up and defend your character. I like this quote, “Making a hundred friends is not a miracle. The miracle is to make a single friend who will stand by your side even when hundreds are against you.”


Pay attention to those who lean in your direction. Stay alert and discern your opportunities to build up others. To reap a harvest, one must sow and cultivate. The laws of the harvest apply to friendship as well as nature. 

Keeping your friends is as important as making new ones. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To keep a friend you must be a friend.” Show appreciation and always seek to bless your friends. 

Zig Ziglar put it well, “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” 


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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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