If you want to get One Grip Higher, stop trying to find great friends!

Yes, you read that correctly… I said stop looking for great friends.  Recently I had the incredible opportunity to speak at my church, The Father’s House, about friendship to 100 teenagers. My main point was this:

If you want great friends… stop LOOKING for great friends, and start BEING a great friend!

In preparing for this talk, I read through and studied many of the great friendship recorded in the Bible.  I found the relationship of Prince Jonathan and the young (pre-king) David to be absolutely fascinating.  I noticed 5 very interesting things about their friendship that I think serve as a great framework for approaching the concept of friendship in our lives.

1) Do Something Significant: Both David and Jonathan were engaged in something bigger than themselves. Jonathan was a crazy warrior who climbed a steep cliff to attack an encampment of enemy soldiers.  The book of 1 Samuel says that “he killed over 20 men in one half acre” and that “the bodies piled up” as he fought for his nation.  As a young boy, David took on the biggest and baddest warrior the enemy had; Goliath.  Both of these guys were engaged in something bigger then themselves.  Their friendship happened naturally as a result of their individual life purposes.

2) Focus on Similarities: These two guys were about as different as two people can be.  Jonathan was a prince, wealthy, respected, famous, a soldier, and important.  David (at the time) was a shepherd, poor, not respected, not famous and clearly not important.  They shared a common faith and a common desire to protect their nation, and that was enough.

3) Give What You Got: The text says that when they became friends Jonathan gave David his robe, sword, belt and armor.  There is no record of David giving anything back.  Jonathan gave what he had.  All David could offer was loyalty, and that was all Jonathan expected.

4) Make a Covenant: The text states that Jonathan and David made a covenant of friendship to one another.  That is the same word used for the commitment a man and women make at the marriage ceremony to be faithful until death.  They weren’t signing up to be fair weather friends.  They were serious about their new found friendship.

5) Keep Your Commitments: Eventually David fell out of favor with Jonathan’s father, King Saul.  In fact, the king place a mark on David’s head and order him killed.  Jonathan helped David flee for his life.  His decision to keep his covenant angered his father and cost him dearly.  But he upheld the commitment he had made.

As I think about each of these 5 foundations of great friendship, it is intriguing to me that neither David nor Jonathan, when out looking for friendship.  They didn’t try to change in order to conform, fit in, gain attention or be cool.  They simply pursued something bigger then themselves and embraced a like minded person with a similar purpose in life.

This message may have been designed for teenagers, but I think it hold a tremendous amount of value for anyone who wants more then mediocrity in the area of friendship.  If we stop trying to get great friends, and start doing these 5 simple things to become a great friend… we will be One Grip Higher!

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