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  • Pastor Ralph

The 17 Factor

A man dialed a wrong number and got the following recording: “I am not available right now, but I thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes.”

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for all my friends, people who have not made me “one of the changes.” People who have hung in there with me through “thick and thin” to encourage me, love me and stand with me, season after season. I cannot express my gratitude. Friends have kept me going, have given me strength for the day, and the long haul, and friends have given me hope when I needed a lift. It has been said, “He is your friend who pushes you closer to God.” Thank you for “pushing” me!

I love to retell this story that first came to me through some of my father's reading material that I stumbled upon after he died. It goes like this…

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following: “One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.” “One who understands our silence.” “A volume of sympathy bound in cloth.” “A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down.” The winning definition read: “A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out.”

Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at all times…” This Thanksgiving, as I count my blessings, I thank God again for my friends. They are a gift from Him. Proverbs 27:9 says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Thank you, my friends, for “refreshing my soul” in so many ways.

This year, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, in an environment where we cannot get together with friends, let us give thanks at a distance through a phone call, an email, a text, Facebook, etc. to the people we love and who love us. Maybe, we could take the time this year to reach out and make a new friend that we can encourage. The best way to make a friend is to be one!

God bless you my friends. Thank you for caring for me and my family. Richness is not measured in terms of material worth but in terms of the people who love us. I certainly am a rich man!

With sincere thanks – Pastor Ralph


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