By Randy C. Davis
President and executive director, TBMB

Randy Davis

I love good advice. Proverbs 11:14 has been a benchmark verse for me: “Where there is no counsel people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (success).” You can never have enough wise counsel. Conversation from competent and proven practitioners in any field is worth the time and resources to obtain it.

I’d like to offer some much-needed investment advice to pastors. Oh, not the sort of investment advice related to finance and retirement. For that, I’d suggest contacting GuideStone at 1-888- 984-8433!

I’m talking about another type of investment I urgently and passionately encourage pastors to make. The dividends are pretty much guaranteed. The pattern is biblical.

I’m talking about investing in friendships.

Ministry leadership positions can get very lonely, especially when we immerse ourselves in Kingdom work. Sure, most of us would say we have a lot of friends, but let’s be honest. We actually have many acquaintances, but few deep friendships. These are the types of friends who know us completely, warts and all, and still love us. The kind of friends that walk in when all others walk out.

These are friends who stand with you when you make the biggest mistakes you could possibly make. They can say the harshest word of correction and criticism and you know it is redemptive because you know their motivation is your well-being.  These types of friends love you too much to abandon you while you go down the wrong path or make a stupid decision.

These friends show up just to be there when you are going through the valley of the shadow of death and your heart is aching like never before. They stand with you, by your side, for as long as it takes. They may not say a word. They don’t have to. They practice the power of presence. These are Proverbs 18:24 friends, “a friend that sticks as close as a brother.”

And I know the hurt when you lose friends like these. I’ve lost my two closest confidants and friends over the last 13 months, Don and Stan. I preached both of their funerals. My girls called them Uncle Don and Uncle Stan, that’s how close we were.

We shared gut-busting laughs, often. We shared boatloads of tears during seasons of loss. We shared a lot of time on our knees in prayer together. We talked over major decisions, frustrations, disappointments and occasional victories. These were blue jeans and sweatshirts, “no need to impress” kind of buddies.

Jeanne recently said to me, “you can’t make new old friends.”

Truth. And you can’t replace them when they’re gone.

So, my investment advice is to get busy investing quality time, and lots of it, with a friend or two … or three … or four. Risk being real, open, and vulnerable. Let down your guard and open your life to build that deep friendship.

It was just a little more than five months ago that Stan called me with somewhat of a strange request: “Would you and Jeanne pray for me. I can’t seem to catch my breath. I feel like something is wrong.” Just weeks later he was diagnosed with a very rare form of lung cancer, especially for a non-smoker. It was Stage 4. It spread quickly. Too quickly. Stan died April 20.   

Stan and Don were good friends, and they were certainly my great friends. Those two investments alone made me a very, very rich man. God truly blessed me.

It is a joy to be with you on this journey (and glad we don’t have to travel it alone).

© Tennessee Baptist Mission Board

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