I recently read a quote from Archie Bunker and it gave me pause for thought. He said, "I got a lotta best friends. Some o' them I don't even hardly know!"
Of course, Carroll O'Connor was playing for laughs on "All In The Family," and it is kind of funny to think one could regard another as a best friend when he "don't even hardly know" him. However, I can think of some best friends I have had whom I hardly know now. They were the warp and woof of my life's fabric. They influenced my life profoundly and are very much a part of my person, even though I haven't seen most of them in many years.
I remember Phil, who introduced me to Jesus when I was a youth. He now lives eternally with Jesus. There is Bill, my best college buddy with whom I still communicate, though rarely. Talmadge and Dorothy were my "bf's" in Savannah during my first full-time ministry. I proposed marriage to Shirley in their family room. They're both with the Lord now.
Isaias was my best Mexican friend whom I haven't seen since he became an American citizen and moved to Nashville.
Rodney rushed us to the hospital at a frightening speed when Shirley had her heart attack, and Marc was her cardiologist with whom we still exchange Christmas greetings.
There were others, but you get the picture. I imagine you also have best friends you hardly know. You once knew them well and they still live in you.
Solomon wrote wise words about friendship in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Solomon says friendship is a good investment because good friends always "have your back." They will lift you up when you fall, provide warmth in a cold, cold world, and team up with you in hostile times.
Obviously, my very best friend is the Heavenly Father. He's your best friend, too. The cord of three strands of which Solomon wrote consists of you, your friend, and God.
As the years have passed, you may have related to many "best friends" as I have, but the "bestest" best friend you will ever have is God. You should cultivate His friendship above all else.
Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week's column comes from Pastor Chuck Salmon, associate minister of Howard Christian Church.