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Everyone Needs a Friend

Everyone Needs a Friend

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. Acts 14:1

When I first began going to Sunday morning Bible study at the local county jail, it was more than a little intimidating. Working with the incarcerated was way outside of my comfort zone and was unlike anything I’d ever done. Still, I felt compelled to go and so, I asked a buddy to accompany me. Over four years ago, he began going too, and until Covid-19 hit, we’d been going almost every Sunday since then.

We both miss it. Jail Bible study has become an integral part of living out our faith. I’ve got to say though, it’s been a much better experience and far less intimidating, to enter that jail every Sunday with a buddy than to do it alone. It helps that my buddy is six and a half feet tall, but even if he wasn’t, it’s simply better to do ministry – and life – with a good friend and brother.

Paul and Barnabas modeled this truth in today’s passage. In the story, the two were faithful to carry the gospel, traveling together into hostile and intimidating environments. In Iconium, they entered the local synagogue, carrying the message of Christ. They weren’t entering a Jesus-friendly Christian church. Instead, they entered the established house of what was becoming an oppositional, unfriendly religion. The Jewish elite rejected Christ as the messiah and eventually, those in Iconium attempted to kill both of the apostles.

Paul and Barnabas obeyed God, ministering together and when threatened, they fled together. Though they eventually parted ways, on this journey, the two men relied on each other, encouraged each other, and helped carry each other’s burdens. They were friends and brothers who did life and ministry together.

We weren’t made to walk alone. We were made to live and love in community. Life is less burdensome when we’ve got a friend beside us. It’s far easier to walk the right path when we’ve got a brother (or sister) walking with us. When we experience trials, when we struggle, and when we fall, it’s far easier to get back up when a buddy provides a helping hand. When we’re struggling with anything, we’d do well to follow the example of Paul and Barnabas. We’re better together. Everyone needs a friend.

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