I'm a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules. Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by your counsel.
(Psalm 119:63-64 The Message)
It is good to have friends. As we begin today, just take a moment to make a list of friends. Now, divide that list into those who you could say were more than just your acquaintances - the list probably got a little shorter. To further refine this list, let's divide out those who we really know have our back - they are more of a confidante to us, they are a compatriot in our mission in life. The list probably got downright tiny with that one! We can have lots of friends, but few will go the extra mile of walking with us through our mission in life - partnering with us in our walk with Christ.
David says he was a friend and companion of ALL who feared God. Then he broke that down a little further - of those that were committed to living by the rules God establishes. He made his lists, too! He knew there were a lot who would make good friends because of their similar interests, but there were some who'd make the best "traveling companions" because of their commitment of heart!
A companion is someone who is a "match" for you. It is like having two pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly together. The term "companion" is also a nautical term and carries the meaning of the frame on the upper deck of the ship that may be raised in order to allow light to flow into the recesses of the ship. The "companion" brings light into dark spaces! Isn't that a neat way to think of those on the "smaller" list we just made? They serve to "bring light" into what would be an otherwise dark existence!
Maybe we need the companion because of the light they bring that assists God in training us to live by his counsel! When we think of those on our "short list" of friends, we are probably able to see how the individual(s) possess certain levels of maturity, talents, and insights that we have not completely developed in our own lives yet. This is probably why they make such a perfect "match" for us - - they bring into the relationship what it is that we lack!
In the process of being "trained" to live by the counsel of God, the companions we choose in this journey make all the difference in the outcome of the journey. I have traveled to various parts of the world - - the companions in those travels have made all the difference in how it was that I "experienced" the places I visited. For example, when I traveled to the Philippines, I was with others that knew the customs, foods, and things to avoid. I trusted them to help me experience those things that would not bring misery to my digestive system, keep me out of situations where I'd commit a slight in customary courtesy, etc. They knew the region, the people, and kept me safe.
There have been times when I have traveled to brand new places - - with no one on the trip knowing the region any better than the other. It is less reassuring, and I daresay we took less adventures, trusted ourselves less to make the right choices, etc. We simply did not know what to expect, so we were a little wary! The same is true when we only align ourselves with those that are "weaker" than ourselves in this journey we call the Christian walk of faith. We need companions along the way who have "gone before" us - - those with experiences we can learn from.
The lists we made at the beginning were important. If you did not make them, take some time over the next couple of days to really think about your lists of friends, companions, and true "matches" for this journey. If you find you are lacking that true "match" for the journey, it may be a perfect opportunity to begin to ask God to reveal such a person in your life. I have enjoyed these "matches" along the journey - - there have been few, but they have been perfect for the season I was walking in. I pray the same for each of you this holiday season. May God "gift" you with the perfect "match" for this journey you are on!