Three Types of Friends

“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5

“Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.” Proverbs 27:9

One of the best parts of camp is the friendships that are formed. We love making new friends, building friendships, having Deep-Meaningful Conversations with friends, and we love staying in touch with friends after we leave camp!

The Bible has a lot to say about friendships, especially in the book of Proverbs. These two passages show us that real friendship takes work. But it’s always worth it!

Proverbs 20:5 tells us that we struggle to know our own hearts, but the patient befriending of another will help us draw it out. Proverbs 27:9 tells us that the sweet counsel of a friend is better than perfume!

I read an article years ago that helped me to see how every friend fits into one of three categories. It’s super easy to picture because the author used an analogy of water sports to make their point.

  • First, there are water skiing friendships: those friendships that are super fun and pretty easy to pick up, and they are always above the surface.
  • Then there are snorkeling friendships: those friends with whom you can go underneath the water with and what you discover is very beautiful, but you can only stay for so long.
  • Finally, there are deep-sea diving friendships. These are the hardest friendships to gain, and I think we can only have a few friends in this category. Deep-sea diving friendships are those that you must train for, and sometimes they are risky — but once you go deep into those relationships, you discover new worlds, within yourself (as the Proverb said), and in the lives of others.

Can you think of examples of friends that fit in those categories? Which type of friends do you have most? Which type of friend do you want to have? Which kind of friend are you to others?

In John 15, Jesus says something amazing to his disciples. He calls them his “friends.” “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).

The truth is, in order to be a friend like we want to be, we have to know the greatest Friend that world has ever known. Jesus is the Truest Friend who helps us be a true friend to others! That is really good news for those of us who want to have greater friendships and to be a greater friend — whether it’s a skiing friendship, a snorkeling friendship, or a deep-sea diving friendship!

Encouragement: take some time this week and read through the book of Proverbs and see how many verses you can find about friendships!

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