A great place to glean some profound insights into life is from children’s stories. In a Winnie the Pooh story, for instance, there is a scene that is a delightful illustration of our desire to hear words that are friendly and warm, rather than harsh or hard.

One day Pooh Bear is about to go for a walk in the Hundred Acre wood. It’s about 11:30 in the morning. It is a fine time to go calling — just before lunch. So Pooh sets out across the stream, stepping on the stones and when he gets right in the middle of the stream he sits down on a warm stone and thinks about just where would be the best place of all to make a call.

He says to himself, “I think I’ll go see Tigger.” No, he dismisses that. Then he says, “Owl!” Then, “No, Owl uses big words, hard-to-understand words.” At last he brightens up! “I know! I think I’ll go see Rabbit. I like Rabbit. Rabbit uses encouraging words like, ‘How’s about lunch?’ and ‘Help yourself, Pooh!’ Yes, I think I’ll go see Rabbit.”

Friendship is a valued commodity in our society. I recently read a number of adages that are apt to describe the significance of finding faithful and loving friends. The following are just a few:

”Friendship is a strong and habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and happiness of one another.” (Eustace Budgell)

”Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light.” (Jennie Jerome Churchill)

”Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” (Ben Franklin)

and finally...

”A man can keep his sanity and stay alive as long as there is at least one person who is waiting for him. The mind of man can indeed rule his body even when there is little health left. A dying mother can stay alive to see her son before she gives up the struggle, a soldier can prevent his mental and physical disintegration when he knows that his wife and children are waiting for him. But when ‘nothing and nobody’ is waiting, there is no chance to survive in the struggle for life.” (Henri J. Nouwen)

Everyone longs to have at least one faithful friend who can be counted on for encouragement and warmth. Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

As Christians, we have a friend who we can call on endlessly; his name is Jesus. This week, take time to thank Jesus for not only being Lord and Savior, but also for being our friend and source of daily encouragement.

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