We were made to crave relationships. We just seem to have in our DNA the desire to worship and the desire for community. What’s more – we all need people in our world who will help us along life’s way to better know, love and serve the true and living God. Some of those we encounter in life will be exceptionally close friends; others may just be someone we observed along the horizon at a critical moment. These individuals help make a difference in us. Without them, our worlds just wouldn’t be the same.
Who’s Your Jonathan? It is said in God’s word that the souls of David and Jonathan were “knit” (1 Samuel 18:1, 4). They were unusually dear friends, warriors who were closer than brothers and it seems they made each other even better people (See Proverbs 17:17; 18:24; 27:17). We will have many acquaintances during a lifetime, a number of friends but precious few “Jonathans.”
Who’s Your Nathan? It is Nathan who was able to thoughtfully confront King David with his sin concerning Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12. He is the type of person who can tell us “thus says the Lord” and “you are the man!” A “Nathan” wisely lets us know when things are off track or flat out wrong in our lives and we know it’s because they really care. Too many people lack an appropriate sense of accountability to God or to anyone else for their actions. Sadly, this often includes Christians. When this occurs, it is a sure sign of pride and selfishness.
Who’s Your Barnabas? Everyone needs someone who will encourage and build us up. And Barnabas, whose real name was Joseph, was so good at it that the apostles called him “Barnabas” – “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36-37). Nearly every time we read about him in Scripture, he’s encouraging others in the Lord (cf. Acts 9:26-27; 11:22-26). Throughout life there will be plenty of difficulties and “sons and daughters of discouragement.” We deal in a more God-honoring way with those occasions and people due to the help and encouragement of “Barnabas types.”
Who’s Your Timothy? We all need younger people who are full of faith and giftedness and in whom we are willing to make an investment (See Philippians 2:19-24; 2 Timothy 2:2). It’s about passing the baton of faith; it’s about passing the torch of truth to generations to come. We simply must be more more motivated, more intentional and be better stewards of the “Timothys” and “Tabithas” we encounter. It is entirely possible the greatest thing some of us will ever do in the Kingdom is to help bring along a Timothy!
Who’s Your Paul? In our walk we with God we need mentors – those to whom we can look up and learn. These are people of integrity, ability and maturity. They have deliberately chosen to be close to God and have whole-heatedly pursued God. They love the Lord and His church and it shows (See 1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 4:9).
We really DO need these types of people. And when we DO encounter them, our lives are the richer for it because they reflect something of the beauty of our Lord and Savior Himself.