In life, we need friends. But, we need different kinds of friends.
From Paul's life, we can see some of the different kinds of friendships
we need. I think we need in life:
- a Barnabas,
- a Paul,
- a Timothy,*
- and other companions too.
Paul and Barnabas were close friends. Barnabas helped Paul get started in the ministry (Acts 11:19-26). After that, their names are mentioned together as a pair twenty times
in just a few chapters of Acts: Paul and Barnabas, Barnabas and Paul.
These two spent quite a bit of time together preaching the Good News;
they were co-workers in ministry. Paul and Barnabas also had the
freedom to "disagree strongly" with each other (Acts 15:36-40).
We all need friends who we can accomplish like-mind goals with, people
who will be there with us and have the same vision and heartbeat that
we do, but who are not afraid to challange us and hold us accountable
In addition to needing friends to walk along side us, we need friends who can mentor us and friends who we can mentor. In 1 Timothy 2:1,
Paul calls Timothy his "true child in the faith." It is obvious in his
letters to Timothy that Paul is teaching and guiding Timothy, taking
him under his proverbial wing. I have always treasured the "Pauls" in
my life, older women who have walked the path before me who can help me
to follow it. Likewise, I am able to help others who are just now walking along parts of the path I've already tread. It is important that we have mentors in our
life and that we mentor others as well.
I often tend to picture Paul "out there" on his own trailblazing and
spreading the gospel alone. But that is not an accurate picture. Paul
had other companions, male--Titus, Silas, Luke, Mark, Apollos,
Epaphroditus, Aquila--and female--Pricillia, Phoebe, Lydia, Euodia, and
Syntyche--just to name a few of his brothers and sisters in the Lord.
In Paul's letters to the various churches, he mentions some by name
sending greetings or thanking them for help sent. Paul clearly had many
friends who he lived in close communion with and considered beloved.
Like Paul, we too need others. We need to be supported and helped. We need companionship and fellowship. Friendships and friends in all shapes and
sizes are needed!
We may be walking an unknown path, but we do not walk it alone--praise the Lord!
*This idea is not originally mine. I once heard a speaker in
college talk about finding in our lives a Paul, a Barnabas, and a
Timothy. His idea of types of friends to seek out has never left me.
(Originally posted in 2006.)