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Friends in High Places | 1 Samuel 17:55-58; 18:1-15; 19:1-4, 9-10



Friends in High Places | 1 Samuel 17:55-58; 18:1-15; 19:1-4, 9-10


This sermon is about friendship. Sometimes friends do things that irritate u but motivate u to do something extraordinary.

In 1901, a senior high school student named Charlie Ross was the teacher’s pet. The teacher was a woman named Miss Tillie Brown. An English teacher

Young and quite Attractive.  Everyone knew Charlie was Miss Brown’s favorite . . . and because Miss Brown was such a popular teacher, it placed a lot of pressure on Charlie.

Charlie had to work very hard to defend his title “teacher’s pet.”  He had to read and to study a little bit more than everyone else.  Even at that, the other students made jokes behind Charlie’s back.

Charlie had better amount to something someday, they said, or Miss Brown would never forgive him.

As you have guessed, Charlie did amount to something one day . . . and perhaps, directly because of what happened during graduation exercises

Addresses had been made.  Diplomas had been handed out.  And something else no one had expected.

When Charlie Ross’s turn came to receive his diploma, Miss Tillie Brown . . . the beloved English teacher . . . rose to congratulate Charlie personally . . . with a kiss!  That did it.

Charlie may have been class valedictorian; he may have been editor of the student yearbook; he may even have been the teacher’s pet.

Did that entitle him to such an honor, a kiss from the class’s cherished Miss Brown?  After graduation exercises were over, there should have been laughing, shouting, excitement.

Instead, there was quiet disappointment.  Many of the graduates, especially the boys, resented Miss Brown’s unabashed display of favoritism.

So much so that a handful of them approached Miss Brown, and one of them asked her why others had been so conspicuously neglected.

Miss Brown stood firm.  She said Charlie had earned the special recognition.  She said when the others had done something worthwhile, they’d get kissed, too.  She’d see to it.

If this made the other boys feel a little better, it made Charlie Ross feel worse. He had been the object of this minor scandal.  He had been the cause of all those hurt feelings.

In life after school, Charlie would most certainly have to prove himself worthy of Miss Brown’s congratulatory kiss.  And he did.  In the years that followed, Charlie worked very hard.

He entered the newspaper business and eventually so distinguished himself that he was hand-picked by President Harry Truman to be White House press secretary.

Now, the selection of Charlie Ross for the job was no mere accident.

The leader of the boys who approached Miss Brown for the graduating class of 1901, the one who told her that he and the others felt left out, was Harry Truman himself.

And it was to him that she had said, “Do something worthwhile and you’ll get your kiss.”

Is it any wonder that Charlie Ross’s first duty as presidential press secretary, his very first assignment, was to call Miss Tillie Brown in Independence Missouri?

The message Ross delivered from the President of the United States:  “Have I done something worthwhile to earn a kiss?”  Guess what? He got his kiss.

Choosing friends is one of the greatest choices we will make in this life. You want to choose friends who will stand by with and believe in you.

We continue our sermon series on the life and times of King David.

I wonder how many people thought that David, after slaying Goliath took the throne and became the youngest King in history and everyone lived happily ever after?

Well, guess what? It didn’t happen that way. As a matter of fact, the aftermath of the giant killing led David into one of the deepest, longest and darkest valleys of his life.

He went from the highest pinnacle of popularity to the lowest depression of despair.

As we saw in last week’s epic adventure, David had just accomplished a remarkable achievement, the slaying of a 10 foot giant with one stone.

As a result, David became an instant celebrity. He became a national hero. The people began to sing his praises. King Saul immediately brought him into the inner circle of his kingdom.

But David was about to enter the crucible of pain. Thankfully, he had no idea how excruciating the pain would be.

But God sent a friend his way to help him survive the bad times, the valleys and the depression. In this case, God sent Jonathan, the son of King Saul.

They would become inseparable. Samuel tells us they had an amazing bond, the Hebrew word is qashar which means to tie together emotionally, or physically or mentally.

Jonathan and David would become best friends.

Did you know that having a best friend is rare in this life? Often we will only have one, occasionally two, usually not more than three in our entire lives.

There’s something about a best friend that causes your spirits and souls to be knit together. It’s what we call a kindred spirit.

It can be a spouse or a person you’ve known forever or someone you just happen to connect with on all levels.

A best friend is someone who will share your deepest thoughts, dreams and emotions. Today’s lesson reveals four important characteristics of intimate friendship.

First, a best friend is someone who is willing to sacrifice. You don’t have to ask a close friend for a favor. Ask yourself this question to see how many close friends you truly know.

If you needed $10,000 immediately with no explanation, who would give it to you? Who would stand with you in a court of law when they know you’ve been accused of being a thief?

I think that will narrow the field quite considerably.

But remember this and write it down. You will not have to ask a true friend for money because they will give you whatever you need because they already know your need.

Samuel tells us that Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David along with his armor, his sword, his bow and his belt. Can you imagine that?

The Prince of Israel gives David his most prized possessions. Talk about a great friendship.

Many years ago a little girl named Liz was suffering from a rare and serious disease.

Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5 year old brother who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed antibodies needed to combat the illness.

The doctor explained the situation to her little brother and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.

He hesitated for a moment before taking a deep breath and said, “Yes, I will do it if it will save my sister.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled as the color returned to her cheeks. Then, all of a sudden, his face grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?’ Being so young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor.

He thought he had to give his sister all his blood!

Now, being a good friend doesn’t mean you have to give all of your blood away but a good friend would not hesitate to assist whenever they can.

Second, a best friend is a loyal defense before others. A good friend is not a fair-weather friend. Samuel tells us that Jonathan spoke well of David to his father, King Saul.

His words were significant because Saul had become very jealous of David. The women in Israel were chanting, ‘Saul has slain his thousands but David..  (pause) his tens of thousands.’

The honeymoon would soon be over. King Saul put a bounty on David’s head. He wanted him killed.

But Jonathan stood up to his father and said, “Dad, your wrong about David.”

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” A best friend will speak up for you, stand with you and be your best defense.

Third, best friends give each other complete freedom to be themselves. When you have a really close friend, you don’t have to explain yourself, what you say or what you do.

In First Samuel the text tells us that David rose from the south side and fell on his face and bowed 3 times. He and Jonathan stood together and wept.

When your heart has been broken like David’s from being chased all over the countryside by Saul, you can bleed all over a friend and they will understand.

A true friend won’t confront you in your misery or share 2 chapters of Scripture then tell you to straighten up.

When a good friend is hurting, let him hurt. If a good friend feels like weeping, let her weep. If a friend needs to complain then take the time to let them vent.

A true friend will allow you to be yourself no matter what that self looks like. Friends are crucial to surviving this journey of life.

And last, a best friend is a constant source of encouragement. Samuel tells us in chapter 23 that David had become aware that Saul had come to kill him.

What does Jonathan do? He runs straight to David to encourage him. Did you catch that? There was a hit man after David and his name was Saul.

David was running away from Saul in the wilderness and at any moment, behind any bush or rock or hill, Saul and his men were waiting to strike him dead.

He sees David at the lowest moment of his life, frightened, beleagured, stumbling through the wilderness and he comes to offer him hope and friendship.

Someone once said that the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had.

Friends are important in our confusing world.

One of my all time favorite stories about friendship involved two boyhood friends named Marty and Johnny who loved baseball. They also were best friends.

One day, they decided to make an agreement to always play baseball together regardless of what happened. They would let nothing separate them.

In Little League, Johnny was the better player and they would play Marty so Johnny said, “I will quit unless you let my friend Marty play as well.

They let him play. In high school, Johnny was a star and they told Marty to sit the bench. Johnny said, “If you don’t play my friend Marty, I will not play one single game.

Marty was made the starting shortstop. As time went on, Johnny continued to become a rising baseball star.

His coach called him aside and told him about the upcoming tryouts for the minor leagues. “Johnny,” he said, “you are going to be a star one day. ”

Johnny said, “that’s great coach but I will not sign unless you give my friend Marty a tryout as well.”

The coach said,  “Don’t worry about Marty, he’s just an ugly duckling. He’s too slow, too skinny, can’t field and can’t hit.” Johnny said, “I don’t care.

He’s my friend and I know Marty can make it if given a chance. He’s got determination and he can learn to field and hit.”

Sure enough, training camp resulted in a contract for Johnny but Marty was cut. Johnny, however, wouldn’t sign a contract without Marty, so the club gave in and awarded both of them a contract.

Motivated by his friend’s actions, Marty slowly began to improve. During their third year in the minor leagues Johnny was cut from the team and quit.

But Marty began to make improvements. One day he would be called up to the major leagues to play for the St. Louis Cardinals as their starting shortstop.

Marty would go on to play in four World Series and seven All-Star games. In 1944, Marty was named the Most Valuable Player in the entire National League beating out Stan Musial and Mel Ott, two hall of famers.

You can look it up yourself. His name was Marty Marion. Years earlier, Marty’s mom had asked Johnny why he was so determined to keep the baseball pact?”

Johnny said, “Belief is a kind of love. I believe in Marty. We’re best friends. Believing in someone is the best kind of love.”

Jonathan believed in David and their friendship saved David’s life, not once, not twice but at least four times.

Friends, perhaps it’s time to take inventory of your friendships and make a pact with your best friend.

If you don’t have a best friend, perhaps it’s time for you to be a friend to someone who needs support, love and encouragement.

Who knows? They may turn out to be the Most Valuable Player in your life.  Amen.


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Pastor Daniel writes and posts a weekly newsletter that keeps members and friends of the congregation up-to-date. His earlier newsletters are also online, so if you missed something, check those past editions.

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