What A Friend
Chaplain Chester Readus
Princeton Baptist Medical Center
Luke 11:5-10 is commonly entitled “The Friend Calling at Midnight.” I believe that it is good and great to have friends. The Bible says, “A man that showeth himself friendly hath many friends.” Webster says, “a friend is a person whom one knows well and is fond of.”
As I re-read the parable, I asked myself a question, “What is the request of the man”? The request, according to v. 5, is “Friend, lend me three loaves.” This request is neither complicated nor sophisticated. It is not strange nor showy. It is short. It is simple. It is specific. It is spiritual. It is sound. After hearing the request the friend laying in his bed says, “Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee” (v7). I remind you the friend in bed is rejecting the plea on the grounds of “unwillingness” and not on “inability.”
But thank God for v. 8. where it says, “Christ says, though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.” Are you moved by “importunity”? When Jacob was moved by importunity, he said to the angel, “I’m not leaving until you bless me!” When Elijah was moved by importunity, he sent his servant to look for a cloud seven times! Do you remember the widow woman and the unjust judge? She kept returning to see the judge and she got her answer. Why? In a word, importunity. Importunity says, I’m not taking no for an answer! Do importunity and faith have something in common? Listen to this quote: “There is in genuine faith a buoyancy, a steadfastness of principle, a fixedness of purpose, that neither time nor toil can weaken.”
But there is also an unseen friend that I go to at midnight. His name is Jesus! Let me just take a moment to compare the two: the friend in bed or the visible friend (who in this case does not represent Jesus) and the unseen friend (Jesus Himself). The “visible friend” lives for self and earthly riches and rewards but the Unseen Friend lives for His Father in Heaven and the uplifting of humanity. The “visible friend” needs to be pushed, prodded, and paid but not the Unseen Friend. He volunteers. The visible friend is limited and partial but the Unseen Friend is unlimited and blesses abundantly. The visible friend lends but the Unseen Friend gives willingly, lovingly, freely, and cheerfully.
The Unseen friend says, “Ask and it shall be given you, Seek and you shall find, Knock and the door shall be open unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (v.9-10). Jesus is my Friend. Is my friend your friend? If no, what are you going to do about that?
Prayer: Father we are grateful for human friends. We are also grateful that you are a friend that is closer than a brother. Amen