Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A True Friend or Two

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

profileI have a couple of months before I enter my last year in my 50’s.  I know some folks who are already in their 60’s and they seem to be doing OK.  I must take better care of myself so I can see my 60’s – 70’s – 80’s and beyond – the Lord willing.  My wife seems like she will be around for a while – so I better be to enjoy life with her in our senior years.

As we age – we develop friends along the way.  Friends are awesome.  As a pastor and family – making friends is different at times.  We were blessed to stay in one church for 24 years so our children grew up with the same friends from birth and we have remained in the area – so they have some longtime friends.  Many pastors and family do not stay that long in one location.  The normal is 5-8 years.  For me – friends – lasting friends – are few and far between.  I made some friends from my 24 years at one church but have to remove one large area of discussion when I am with them – our church relationship.  We can talk faith – we can talk family – we just can’t talk about the church they attend or the one I attend.  Rules! Ugh!

As a pastor it is hard to know whether someone is your friend because they like you and want to be your friend or because you happen to be the current pastor.  Some friends from former parishes have faded for sure – friendships I thought were strong and would last.  Folks just move on it seems.  It is to be expected.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining – it is what it is.  I knew when God called me into ordained ministry what to expect – I’m a 3rd generation Methodist pastor after all.  What it does is it makes me cherish the few true friends I have – the ones who would drop everything if I called them in need – the ones who will be my friend – even in the darkest moments.  These are friends who don’t care what I do for a living.  These are the friends that would be there whether times were good or times were bad.

Today’s passage reminded me of these type of friends.  Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  If you have a close friend – a true friend or two or three – you are blessed.  I realize that there are other careers that hinder deep lasting friendships as well.  I feel for them.  All of us need friends.  We all need true friends.

As I continue in ministry – I am trying to be the type of friend I would like to have – while realizing that many friendships do not last past a few years.  Maybe I will find another true friend or two to add to my short list.  Are you trying to be the type of friend today’s passage speaks about – trying to be the type of friend you would like to find yourself?  Here’s a novel idea.  How about praying that God would help you be the friend you should be so that you can make a friend that would bless you?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.


January 14, 2014 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Personal | , , , ,


  1. What an interesting post, Ray! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on friendship – I completely agree. I’m curious though – why is it that you can’t talk about your church relationships? I would think that it is an incredibly important topic to discuss, so I’m quite surprised to read it.


    Comment by gratia17 | January 14, 2014 | Reply

    • Gratia17 – in our denomination we are told – as pastors – that when we leave a church we almost have to “divorce” ourselves from contact with that church and its people. We are only welcome back at that church if invited by the current pastor. It is a hard rule when your life for 4-6-12-24-30 years was tied to your relationships in and around the church. Even when you friendships include more than your church relationships – it is hard to keep that filter working to not talk about or ask questions about the church you both poured so much of your life into.

      Not saying I agree with this rule – but I must follow it.


      Comment by raymcdonald | January 14, 2014 | Reply

  2. I understand the rationale behind that rule, but we always talk about the ‘church family’. If one of your cousins moved away, you wouldn’t cease to talk to them simply because they weren’t near. Shrugs.


    Comment by Katie | January 14, 2014 | Reply

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