People Need People

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” —Proverbs 27:17 Have you ever wondered about the people in your life? Why some are a blessing, and some are…not.

As God is transforming and renewing our lives, He is engraving the character of His Son into our lives—and the engraving tools often come in the form of people.

And what sharp tools they can be!

We know certain individuals—family, friends, teachers, neighbors—who either bless us or bring us heartache and turmoil. Either way, they are part of God’s plan for our lives.

“All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28 promises. “All things” includes the people who cross our paths.

David, the king of ancient Israel and beloved Psalmist, had numerous influences to help him become who the Lord called “a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do” (Acts 13:22).

Three, in particular, shaped his life.

Everyone needs a Samuel in their lives: An older, wiser person, filled with the Spirit, anointed in following God’s leading and able to see something in you that no one else can quite fathom. Samuel prayed, listened to the Lord, and knew David, the shepherd boy, was the chosen king, even though his youth and circumstances said otherwise.

Then there was Saul. We probably all need a Saul in our lives as well. Without Saul, David could not have become the king that he was.

Saul was alternately a friend and an enemy—more often an enemy. Driven by jealousy and insecurity, he made David’s life miserable. Saul drove David into exile. Forced to live by faith and wits as a fugitive in the wilderness, David hid and lived in dark caves and learned to cope with fear, failure, depression, and betrayal. God used all of it to shape and build his character.

If we are truly fortunate, we will also be blessed with a Jonathan in our lives. Jonathan was that rare and priceless friend.

If a Saul sharpens your life, makes you wiser, wary, and shrewder, a Jonathan brings balance through love, commitment, loyalty, and trust. A Jonathan can be a trusted friend, brother, sister or spouse.

Three people handpicked by God to build character in His chosen servant.

We might look at the people in our lives differently if we realize they are part of God’s plan, a vital part of His work in our lives.

“We have a responsibility to influence the people in our lives to be the best possible people they can be: ‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up’" (1 Thessalonians 5: 11). —Henry Cloud, John Townsend