Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn
February 3, 2019
Nothing like good friends on a winter morning
Wednesday morning I had breakfast with three good
friends. We met at Farmers Market in downtown Montgomery. The coffee and food,
while good, was incidental. What mattered was being together. We talked and
laughed and prayed for an hour, then went our separate ways. We meet every week
if our schedules permit.
We had no agenda. Never do. We just talked about our
families, our work and some of the issues we are facing. Seldom do we discuss
national or international problems. We are not meeting to solve political
issues about which we might disagree sometimes. (I will confess that
occasionally we do talk “sports” for a few minutes.)
Mostly we talk about good things that are happening,
about how sometimes we see “God at work” in our lives. We share stories about
our families, our children, our work and challenges we are facing.
We usually mute our cell phones so we can “be there” with
each other. Most cell phone messages can wait an hour. Interruptions rob us of
affirmation and insights that we would miss by being “on the phone.” Muting a
cell phone is a way of saying to someone, “This time with you is important to
Our waitress is a jewel. She often holds hands with us
when we pray. We offer thanks for our food and before departing one of us will
“pray us out of here.”
A friend stopped by to speak to us. He said he was not
accustomed to seeing men holding hands and praying in a restaurant. He laughed
as he recalled a time when he had seen two people with their heads bowed at a
table in a restaurant. He walked over and asked if something was wrong, only to
discover they were quietly praying.
Every time I share breakfast with these men, I drive away
thinking, “I want to do this again.” I think I know why I value time with these
men. The simplest answer is this: we are good friends and we like each other.
We are not embarrassed to admit to each other, “Your friendship is precious to
me.” And there is a divine chemistry at work in our meetings.
Good friends help us test our ideas. Everyone needs good
friends. Even the Lone Ranger needed Tonto. None of us can function effectively
in solitary confinement.
Good friends help us make course corrections in our
thinking and behavior. True friends tell us the truth; they will sometimes
disagree with us because they want the best for us. We gladly receive their
counsel and accept their correction because we respect them and value their
At every stage of our life’s journey, we all need
mentors. A man is a fool who has no mentor but himself.
We all love beautiful sights – a huge rainbow, sunset on
the beach, sunrise on the lake, a child laughing – to mention a few. A sight
which I treasure is four men in a restaurant – laughing, sharing, caring and
enjoying each other. I love that picture. I love being one of those men.
The idea of a few men enjoying companionship is not
really new. A long time ago a certain man did a lot of good work in the company
of three close friends. He broke bread with them and taught them basic
principles of life. I imagine many nights that man went to sleep thinking how
good it was to have those men by his side. Their names, you may remember, were
Peter, James and John. + + +