Read 1 Samuel 20
They stood in the field embracing. Tears streaming down their cheeks. Chests heaving sobs. Red-eyed stares. In the distance, a young boy was running through the field with the arrows he gathered. If you listen, you can hear their parting words. I’ll always love you, my friend. You’ve meant everything to me. Thanks for watching my back. I did what I did because I love you. Don’t forget what we’ve lived through here. I won’t. Not in a million years. David and Jonathan were saying goodbye. And it was hurting them. Why did they have to say good-bye? Why were they in a field? What was the little boy doing with the arrows? Welcome to an incredible friendship. David and Jonathan probably became friends when David worked in the court of King Saul, Jonathan’s father. They probably played in the courtyard together, did some chariot racing, kicked the ball around. They probably had a lot of time together to talk about their trust in God as well as days spent conquering the invisible enemy or practicing hitting targets. They learned to play together, pray together and they learned to be friends.
Today we toss words around like bff or soul mates so often that they have become more like brand names than meaningful descriptions. For David and Jonathan, those terms were really put to the test, a test that finally led them to stand in a field clinging to each other in a final embrace. I can imagine how they must have felt. In a previous youth ministry, I was doing some pretty risky things. I was taking youth to Vancouver’s east end where we handed out sandwiches to the drug addicts. We saw people at their worst and just tried to show them love. We also had a skateboard ministry and the gym walls were starting to look like a drag strip! Then we set up a BMX dirt course on our property and the sky was the limit. We were doing all kinds of extreme stuff but not everyone was excited about it. It was hard to deal with because we were reaching out to so many unchurhed youth.
Thankfully, while I was there, I had struck an unexpected friendship with a guy named Graham. He took time with me, we would sit in his truck after hockey games and talk about life, family and reaching out to the spiritually seeking. We became closer than brothers. He was there for me and really understood my passions to see our youth ministry grow and reach out. He listened and he spoke into my life. Do you have a friend who needs help? Consider what Jonathan did for David. He risked it all. He put it all on the line and he used three arrows as the final signal. “I love you friend, now get out of here.” When was the last time you gathered some arrows and been emotionally honest with a friend? Grab your bow.
It’s time to save a friend.
It’s time to make a friend.