I was a member of a men’s vocal quartet in high school, called The Perfect Gentlemen. (Unfortunately it was before the days of YouTube, so our talent remained undiscovered.) We sang old classics like “In the Still of the Night,” tunes from Billy Joel, and of course the Boyz-II-Men “Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” for graduation. And like any self-respecting men’s group we sang “Lean On Me.” It is a great song, always a crowd pleaser, and it holds a good message that guys in particular should remember: We all need somebody to lean on!
“Need.” Not generally a word that guys like to use about themselves. Who wants to be “Needy”? Can’t you just hear the tough guy saying “I don’t need nothing from nobody!” Well, imperfect gentlemen, that is simply not true. Quartets make better music, and friends make better lives.
“A man needs to have a friend with whom he can unload his inner thoughts, gain perspective, and cross-pollinate and interact, someone who he doesn’t pay like an employee, doesn’t need to support emotionally like a wife, and doesn’t need correction or tending like his child. This is a friendship where there is no dependency, no power dynamics, just mutual respect and understanding.”
He goes on to describe Jesus’ 3 levels of friendships and 2 levels of acquaintances:
1) Best Friend (John): Jesus spent the most time with John and was extra close to him. “The disciple who Jesus loved.” Who is this for you?
2) Inner Circle (Peter, James, and John): Quoting Jakes, “They were the ones who knew what Jesus needed, who interacted with Him, and impacted his life.” “Friends at this level are the guys whom we invite to our Garden of Gethsemane to pray for us as we face the crosses of life – marriage, ministry, and all the nuances of being a man of God in a world of temptations.” Who do you go to when you need prayer for these areas?
3) The Guys (The other 9 disciples): I like to think of these guys as playing a bigger role in smaller areas of your life. Maybe you play golf with them, or talk politics or sports. They won’t have as much access to you, you won’t be as open with them. Heck, one of them may even betray you. But they are usually going to be there when you need them.
This completes the people who will be close to you and who you trust enough to share your life with.
Jesus also had two more groups of acquaintances: The group of 70 and the crowds. Jesus loved them and gave his time and energy to the groups of acquaintances, but they never played the role in His life that His friends did. For you these will be the other people that you interact with in your church, neighborhood, and workplaces.
Have you thought about this before? Do you have a best friend, or a group of friends that makes up your inner circle? Or are you stuck in a lifestyle where you only have ‘the 70 and the crowds’? You may be unconcerned – you don’t need this anyway. But don’t fool yourself, at some point we all need somebody to lean on!
Take the first step – start praying for guidance today.
I’m interested – what thoughts do you have about this?