Ahithophel was the royal adviser. Hushai the Arkite was the kingʼs friend. Ahithophel was succeeded by Jehoiada son of Benaiah and by Abiathar. Joab was commander of the kingʼs army.

I Chronicles 27:33-34 (NLT)

Iʼve been reading through the Bible this year using a YouVersion app on my iPad and this month has me slogging through I Chronicles. God must have decided that it was important that we have a list of everything and everyone who had been part of the story of the children of Israel. I was tempted to skip some of those chapters and then something caught my eye as I skimmed down the screen:

Hushai the Arkite was the kingʼs friend.

In the middle of all the warriors, leaders of clans, priests, and workers, Hushai is mentioned. Heʼs King Davidʼs friend.

Experience reminds me that friendship comes in various forms. It might begin as a shared interest in a hobby, children or grandchildren, or a vocation. With some, it is forged during moments of intense battle for a common cause. With others, it settles into a comfortable relationship without complication. You cannot hurry a friendship—it takes time to know the heart of a person.

For a moment, consider defining friendship as a set of concentric circles. At the center, only two or three people really know the intimacies of your heart. Many more fall in the next ring and are part of our everyday lives in a more casual way. A few people live in another city but continue to impact us. And the final ring includes those folks we call acquaintances.

Doug Weibe writes, “These gifts of friendship are scattered like ripe fruit in the gardens of our lives, waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. Each gift is given by a loving God, who knows what we need and who desires a friendship with every one of us. Therefore, while we may choose our friendships, we do not create the gift of friendship. We can work on our friendships, but we cannot change them into something they are not gifted to be. This is the pain and the joy, the poverty and the incredible freedom we experience on the journey to becoming friends.”

I am on that journey and each time spent with a new “friend” offers hope and promise. I wonder which circle Hushai was in? Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

Itʼs easy to say we have a lot of Facebook friends, but what about those friends that you look in the eye, face to face, over a latte? You canʼt read faces or hear voice inflections in a text or email. Make the time to give of yourself to your friends. As the years pass, that quality time will return as a true gift to your heart.