July 15

Good Friends

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. PROVERBS 17:17

H. Clark Bentall once headed the Bentall Corporation, a construction company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia. Five downtown office towers in that city bear his family's name. He was a major player in the commercial construction and real estate business.

But late in life, after a 50-year career with the company, he found himself in a disagreement with his brothers, who leveraged Clark out of the day-to-day operations and eventually out of the business altogether. Shortly thereafter, his wife of 57 years lost her battle with cancer, and Clark himself was soon stricken with Alzheimer's disease.

There he was—in his early 80s, alone with no work and no wife—and with his ability to grasp what was going on around him beginning to slowly evaporate.

A man who once had everything now had nothing.

But in the years before the fog of Alzheimer's engulfed him, Clark Bentall had invested thoroughly and genuinely in his friendships. And now, in his time of need, every Tuesday and Thursday morning some of his best friends would come over for breakfast, just to talk and say thanks . . . for everything. As the weeks and months went by, Clark had less and less to contribute to the stimulating conversation and shared memories. But still they came, for over four years.

That could be you one day. Alone. Dependent on the obligations of family members and the goodwill of neighbors and friends. Will you have invested enough in people's lives to make them want to come see you, even when you're not as much fun as you used to be?

Now is the time to pour your heart into others—not just to look ahead to the future, but also to make a difference in their lives today.

DISCUSS

Talk about your friendships. List your best ones. Talk about how you could help one another do a better job of building friendships.

PRAY

Give thanks to God for "kindred spirit" friends. And if you don't have many, ask Him to bless your life with a few more.

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