Who hasn’t skipped over the various Bible chapters that list name upon name of historical people? In the first place, the pronunciation takes our wildest guess and secondly, we quite honestly wonder what purpose the list could have for our lives today. 1 Chronicles 27 is one such a chapter, giving us King David’s ”List of Important People”; those that were in charge of his property and that kept kingdom running smoothly. While reading through it the other day, one line in the midst of it all stood out to me. Here is the list. Please read it. Perhaps something might speak to you as it did to me.
▪Over the king's treasures was Azmaveth
▪Over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles, was Jehonathan
▪Over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground was Ezri
▪Over the vineyards was Shimei
▪Over the increase of the vineyards for the wine cellars was Zabdi
▪Over the olive trees and the sycomore trees was Baalhanan
▪Over the cellars of oil was Joash
▪Over the herds that fed in Sharon was Shitrai
▪Over the herds that were in the valleys was Shaphat
▪Over the camels also was Obil
▪Over the donkeys was Jehdeiah
▪Over the flocks was Jaziz
▪Jonathan David's uncle was a counsellor, a wise man, and a scribe
▪Jehiel was with the king's sons
▪Ahithophel was the king's counsellor
▪Hushai was the king's companion
▪after Ahithophel was Jehoiada the son of Benaiah, and Abiathar
▪the general of the king's army was Joab
1 Chronicles 27:25-34
The line that jumped out at me? Hushai was the king's companion.
Really? In this detailed list of “who was in charge of what” does it not seem strange to read, Hushai was the king’s friend? If I was King David’s recorder, I don’t think Hushai would have made to the list, but obviously David’s chroniclers, and God by inspiration, thought differently.
FRIEND, n. frend. (Webster 1812)
One who is attached to another by affection; one who entertains for another sentiments of esteem, respect and affection, which lead him to desire his company, and to seek to promote his happiness and prosperity; opposed to foe or enemy. A companion; a favourite.
Which one of us doesn’t desire someone in our life that matches that description? If we do have such a friend, how blessed we truly are. But something to consider is this, Are you and I a “Hushai” to someone else? How do we go about being a true friend, someone like Hushai must have been to David?
I believe the very first step is found in Philippians 2:3-4.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory;
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other
better (more important)than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others.
Esteem others as more important than ourselves.
Look on the things of others.
Does Paul really have to exhort us to think about others before ourselves? Are we really that self-absorbed, self-centered? I believe so. Paul commended Timotheous unto the Philippians with these words…
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.
For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
“All seek their own” versus “caring for the state of others”.
What about us? Are we like David’s friend Hushai? Do we “care for the state of others” so much so that it comes naturally to us as it did to Timotheous? Or, are we those that “seek our own”, those that succumb to the “It’s all about Me” mentality that permeates our culture today?
Refocusing our eyes onto others is the first step toward being a friend. The second and third I believe are found in Hebrews 10:24.
Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
Consider: to observe fully: discover, perceive. This is the second step in being a friend.
Consider the needs of:
a single person
a young mother
a teenager in high school
a caregiver to ailing parents or a disabled child
a widow or widower
a senior person
someone who’s lost their job
a single mother
Consider one another.
What must their circumstances be like? What must their struggles be? What must be hard for them? What needs must they have? Who do they have to talk to? How would I feel if I was in their position? …
And the third step also found in Hebrews 10:24? …provoke unto love and to good works.
Provoke yourself unto love and to good works. Spur yourself on to action.
Pray for them! Visit them! Listen to them. Show you care with acts of love. Our time spent in considering one another should provoke us to move forward in love and good works towards them.
Peter urged the believers…
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion (sympathy) one of another,love as brethren, be pitiful (tender hearted), be courteous (kind).1 Peter 3:8
Jesus was compassionate, tender hearted and kind. I noticed just recently that each time we read of Jesus’ compassion, an action follows. Here are just a few examples.
Jesus was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matthew 14:14
Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes. Matthew 20:34
Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him. Mark 1:41
Truly considering one another should move our hearts with compassion and our hands to help.
Many excuse themselves with different reasons but the most common one I hear is, “But I just don’t know what to say.” Could I share with you the words a hurting friend just said to me?
“If only someone would just listen. They don’t have to say anything, just listen.”
Others are critical, judgemental. Are we? When others have made mistakes do we “write them off” as not worth pursuing? Do we have the attitude of “they’ve made their bed, let them sleep in it?” Do we need to humble ourselves and realize that aside from the grace of God we could fall into the same sin?
Consider one another … and I believe compassion will follow.
Hushai was the king's friend.
Timotheous cared for the state of others.
Being a true friend as Hushai must have been to David is not a flighty, social activity. It’s not a Facebook “So-and-So has 100 friends” type of relationship but instead one that would make it onto the “Important People” list in someone else’s life. We cannot be a true friend to everyone. We are not to be “idle, wandering about from house to house… tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which [we] ought not (1 Timothy 5:13). We are not to be a gossip or a secret revealer (Proverbs 16:28) but seek to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of [our] mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). We are to be a friend as Jesus was, seeking to help in a physical way but more importantly in a spiritual way. Share what you’ve been learning and enjoying from the Scriptures. Pray with them. Do as Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” If necessary, gently and carefully reprove them (Galatians 6:1), “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) noticing also that Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.“ Being a friend and coming alongside is necessary first before we can reprove in love.
I encourage you to look around. Seek out someone who needs your friendship. Hurting, lonely people are all around us. Maybe you’re one of them. Maybe I am. It’s hard to tell what’s behind the smile and the “I’m fine” answers in public places. Someone seeking to be a true friend determines to go deeper, in a quiet place, over a shared cup of coffee, reaching out with compassion as Jesus did. Not everyone will let you in, but most just crave someone to listen.
Over and over again Scripture urges us to love one another, but remember, love is an action word.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue;
but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18
Let us esteem others better than ourselves.
Let us consider one another.
Let us provoke ourselves unto love and to good works.
I leave this verse with you again,
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. 1 Peter 3:8