Quick: Do a friend count? How many close friendship can you name in 5 minutes? Guys, your wife doesn’t count no matter how close the two of you might be. I mean companions that you don’t share a breakfast table with. As the old saying goes: “…someone when you make a fool of yourself doesn’t think you’ve done a permanent job.” Someone that sharpens you and makes you a better you.
Paul had that in Silas. What do we know about him?
We learn from earlier in chapter 15, that Silas was one of the leaders of the Jerusalem church that delivered the compromise at the recent counsel held there. He is called “a prophet (v. 32). We learn later that Silas is a Roman citizen (which would aide Paul in his travels) and in the book of 1 Peter that he served as an amanuensis (in other words… took dictation) for Peter. 1 Peter is some of the finest Greek in the New Testament… which meant Silas was skilled in the Greek language. Silas is the obvious choice of a traveling companion for Paul
He’s experienced. He’s talented. He’s like-minded.
Now we all need people like Barnabus in our lives… mentors that call us out when we are wrong. But we also need someone like Silas, one who comes along side us to laugh with us, cry with us, share a night in jail with us (see Acts chapter 16)… I’m talking about a Christian friend that shares life with you. Do you have one for your journey? Can someone call you such a friend?
A recent sad statistic I read was that 70% of pastors say they have no close friend. These are our leaders… that provide direction, comfort and protection for the flock. And they are… lonely. And they are… complacent. They have no one to sharpen then… encourage them… strengthen them.
So how did you do on the pop quiz earlier? Did you come up empty? I believe God is calling us to deepen our relationships. Recently my wife Janine read a Facebook post from a friend in another state. She was excited about her church and put it this way: “I am so happy that I get to grow old with these people.” Wow! Jesus said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) That is a call to a “can’t wait to grow old with” kind of love.
Seek to get to know someone today. Break down the barriers of fear and mistrust. Laugh with somebody. Enjoy the God given gift of camaraderie. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “We force no doors in friendship, but like the Christ in Revelation, we stand reverently at the door without, to knock. And only if the door be opened from within, may we welcome in to sup with our friend and he with us.” Whose door do you need to knock on today?