A man in Kansas ran an ad. It said ‘Want to speak to someone for 5 minutes without being interrupted? I will do that for a fee of $5.’
He soon began to receive 10 – 20 calls a day until his entire day was full. He just sat in his chair and listened. People where willing to PAY for this.
Is this a sign of a culture lacking in genuine friendships?
Our relationships are truly at the core of what our lives are all about, and how we handle them affects every other area of our lives.
No-one ever claims to want fewer friends, shallower relationships, or more conflict. In the later years of life, few people feel they have spent too little time on material things. But many people regret that they didn’t sow enough into their relationships.
We all have a great need for healthy relationships, deep friendships, and a sense of community. The relational dimension of our life can be the source of either great joy or much trouble. Many of us get the enormous satisfaction from our relationships, but they can also be the source of genuine pain. Life in itself is difficult enough, but when relationship difficulties get thrown into the mix, problems can just seem to compound. Problems with people can kill the joy in your life.
Many people find themselves feeling hurt, and as a result they can simply shut down. It’s easy to close off relationally – a bit like a tortoise – wanting to pull your neck in and hide.
The writer of Ecclesiastes wants us to understand that friendship is a good investment when he says:
‘Two are better than one, because they have good reward for their labour’
In his commentary on the book of Proverbs, H. D. M. Spence-Jones expands this verse to say: ‘Interaction with other men influences the manner, appearance, deportment, and character of a man – sharpens his wits, controls his conduct, and brightens his very face.’
The words ‘good reward’ can also be translated ‘good return’ – like dividends paid on a wise investment. The very best investments you will ever make in life will not be the financial ones, but the investments you make into relationships.
Let’s make this a benchmark of our lives:
‘I will always live by the principle of investing in relationships, and look for opportunities to make new friendships.’