Friendship – The Chief Happiness Of Life

I Samuel 18:1 "...the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David."

A number of years ago as I went through a crisis in my career, I reached out to a friend who I knew had not only gone through this on his own, but had been inspired to help others find their way through his ministry to other men.

In the pursuit of a job that was “too good to be true”I found that not only was it “too good to be true”, but the primary motivation for pursing this career change was flat wrong.  Not all motives were wrong, but it only takes one significant wrong motivation to lead you astray.  You see, I did have a young family and desired to eliminate travel so I could be home.  I did want to gain a new experience in a different industry and see if I could make the transition.  But, I made the decision primarily on the promise that if we were successful I would be financially secure.  In the end I was lost and needed to step way back, come to a complete point of surrender and find my trust and full confidence in God.  Having a long time friend to turn to and be able to lay out my life in total honesty and surrender was one of the greatest blessings I have ever experienced.  I have a group of 5 other men who have invested a long weekend in each other for more than 16 years.  We have spent many of long nights challenging cultural thoughts and encouraging each other in our relationships with Christ, our families, friends, hobbies and careers.

My good friend invited me to his home in Aspen where I arrived to a reservation in one of the nicest hotels, a gift basket and a wonderful meal with his family at their home.  Over the course of the next 2 – 3 days my friend put his job responsibilities on hold and dug deep into my life to pull out the things that are the most important in life and bring these together to guide me in a path to find the right career.  For me those five things that would make for the right career were meaningful relationships, entrepreneurial, control of key decisions, adventure to live-had to be fun, challenge to conquer – satisfaction in accomplishing our goal.  Meaningful relationships, I discovered was not only the #1 characteristic I needed in a career, but in every area of my life.  This discovery has set the table for how I view the investment of my time and is the lens that I view how I spend my time at work and outside of work.  Fellow co-workers, customers, vendors, family, worship and prayer, men in my church Bible study, community service, and maintaining friendships that I have formed over my life.  I cherish my relationships with others and count these as God’s great blessing in life.

I am currently reading The True Measure of a Man by Richard E. Simmons III, which I highly recommend and Richard shares the view of friendship from C.S. Lewis.

“My happiest hours,” Lewis wrote, “are spent with three or four old friends in old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs-or else sitting up till the small hours in someone’s college rooms, talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics…There’s no sound I like better than…laughter.”  In another letter to his friend Greeves, Lewis writes: “friendship is the greatest of worldly goods.  Certainly, to me it is the chief happiness of life.  If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I would think I should say, ‘sacrifice almost everything you have to live where you can be near your friends.’ 

I concur with Lewis that friendship is the chief happiness of life.  We are all tempted by the responsibilities of life, fame, fortune, and other pursuits that are exalted by the culture, but have no meaning.  For at the end of our life all that will really matter is the true friendships and meaningful relationships that we have established.  I write these things to encourage you to consider the number of friendships and meaningful relationships that you enjoy in your life.  I also write this in a spirit of gratefulness for my friend Blake who, although lives in a distant place was and is there for me.

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