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Monday, December 2, 2013

Friends

This morning I met with a friend.  We have known each other for about 10 years.  Our paths were parallel for much longer.  We are about the same age.  When we me we knew a lot of the same people.  We have similar goals in that we are engaged in helping other men become all they can be in Christ.  We push each other to that end.  We do that differently.  We have different gifts.  Different passions.  Those differences make each of us better.
Who do you know that knows your strengths and weakness and will not let you rest on either?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Tomorrow morning I will meet with two more people like that.  Men whom I have known for over 30 years.  We have done missions together.  We have studied the Word deeply together and deeply disagreed.  We push each other.

I cannot function effectively without these men.  Proverbs 18:24 tells us that we need this type of person in our life.  I often wondered how to get them.  I am learning that in order to have friends like that I have to first be a friend like that.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent observations, Mike, on a subject I've been wrestling with, albeit in different ways, recently. Our team has recently taken the Gallup process called "Strength Finders" to highlight the five top strengths we bring to the table in our lives and working relationships. Based on a number of surveys people who focus on how to use there strengths rather than expending their energies all on their weaknesses (obviously for us as believers there's another "shade" to this story). I could see a lot of what I feel at this time are my spiritual giftings and inclinations are reflected in the strength categories. It was especially valuable in evaluating together how we interact and can improve how we work together.

    I am reminded of Paul's explanation of the Spirit's gifts in 1 Cor.12. We all have at least one (which makes us important to the Body of Christ) but none of us have all (requiring us to be dependent on the others). A beautiful balance, which we do well to constantly keep before us in our interactions with others.

    But this week also I received an email from a mentor ten years further down this road of life who related his recent experience of taking this same profile. But the Spirit also led him to 2 Cor.12:7-10 where Paul comes to his Biblical position of rejoicing rather in his weaknesses. He then developed what he felt his "top" five weakness were. In his case he could connect some reasons for them and outlined those as well.

    I think a strong case can be made that in Paul''s specific case this "weakness" was imposed by God for a specific purpose (v.7), something he couldn't change and so had only to accept with rejoicing in God's good purpose in his life, or reject God's plan and begin the descent into bitterness.

    This leads me to believe that I should consider changing a "weakness" (failure might be a better word) if I can. If, however, it's an actual lack of ability, I wasting my strength and resources in something God hasn't given me and therefore not able to bring my resources to bear on what He has given, for the benefit of my communities. I'm rejecting His plan in favor of my own, which can likely be found rooted in pride and arrogance.

    I thank God for my buddies, and wife and often children (!) who push me...a lot! I need it, badly.

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