Proverbs 17:17 says: “A friend loves at all times.” It is probably typical for us to think of this verse from our own perspective: that those who are our friends should always love us, and stick with us through thick and thin. If they do not, then they are not truly our friends. While this is true, the reverse perspective is the best for us biblically: we should make certain that we ARE that kind of friend ourselves! Ask yourself: “Am I the kind of friend who loves at all times?”
To love at “ALL times” means to love when it is convenient, and when it is inconvenient. Sometimes we want to love when it is convenient for us, “on our schedule.” I can remember occasions when I have made a call because it was a convenient time for me — but then had to leave a message. What happens when they call back and it is no longer that “convenient” time? Does my concern still extend then – or was it only if it was a good time for me? True friends love at ALL times, not just when it is convenient. They do not “pick and choose”. They are always faithful.
Some questions to consider:
— Is my friendship fickle – do I offer it only to withdraw it when tested, or does it remain faithful through thick and thin?
— Do I LOVE my friend at all times, or do I replace it with other qualities instead: judgment, or scorn, or bitterness?
— Is the primary quality I exhibit towards my friends love — or some other quality?
We would each want to have the kind of friend for ourselves that this verse describes: one who loves at all times. Then that should guide our own conduct! The old King James version of Proverbs 18:24 says “A man of friends must show himself friendly.” If we want friends who will love us at all times, then we must determine to follow in the steps of “The Friend of Sinners”, and BE the kind of friend who does the same thing!
A Southern Baptist pastor for almost 35 years, I currently serve as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Angleton, Texas, and post my weekly sermons here. I am grateful to see these messages read in countries around the world, and pray that God will use His word to help individuals to walk with Him daily, and churches to glorify Him with their worship and obedience.
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