I have made it a habit in recent years to read a chapter of Proverbs every morning. Just when I think I have found every really good verse, you know the ones that just pop off the page and hit you between the eyes, I find another. A week ago I was reading along and savoring the words of wisdom. I stopped now and then to ponder a verse, or whisper a prayer, as I neared the end, there was verse 25. It just popped right up off the page and socked me good and hard.
Now, all my life I have been taught how it is "more blessed to give then to receive" (Acts 20:35). So the first part of the verse was good and wise, but it was the second half that really spoke to me. "He who waters will also be watered himself."
Sometimes when you are reading God's Word, the phrases means something to you that they do not necessarily mean in the context of the scripture itself. That is how it was with this verse.
Lately I had been thinking a lot about how my friends have been really important to my spiritual growth this last year. When I read this verse I was hit with the question that while they were helping me to grow, was I also helping them to grow?
When did I become so lazy? I used to find joy in daily encouraging my friends. Through scripture, quotes, prayers, or just by discussing life's challenges with them. Looking at my friendships of the past few years I have found how empty many of them have become, and just
because I do not take the time to really care. It is much easier to just send them little updates about what I have been doing, then to ask how I can be praying for them. It is much less time consuming to just not share what I've been struggling with with them, because they might ask me questions that I cannot answer without some heart searching. Sometimes it is easier to just say "Aww" and "I'll be praying for you" and not take the time to dig to the bottom of the issue.
When I read the words, "he who waters will also be watered himself," I thought about how I desire for my friends to water me spiritually, to encourage me, pray for me, help me through what I am going through. Yet, at the same time I have not been willing to do that for them.
Friendships take work as well as love. If I am not careful, all my friends will just fade out of my life. If they do not find any encouragement in our relationship, then they will cease to put as much energy into it. With both of us not working at it, it will fade away, and I do not want to loose my friends.
So, it is my turn. I need to step up, take the time, and care for those I love. Take time to listen, time to write encouragement, time to challenge, time to listen. I need to just take time to water my friendships so that they will blossom and grow. May we grow to be like iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17). And may our friendships grow sweet, and delight our hearts, like perfume (Proverbs 27:9). And in the process, maybe we can bring delight to our Heavenly Father's
What kind of friend have you been? Are there some things that you need to work on, like listening better, or encouraging others through scripture? Are your friends important to who you have become? What can you do to be a blessing to them? Don't wait until tomorrow, be a
better friend today.