“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
The boredom of quarantine led me to watch a documentary the other day in which Jon Platt, the chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, recounted calling his mentor to say that he was considering a divorce. He described in detail making the call and anticipating the guy talk, perhaps even hoping to get a co-sign on his intent to go after a life that might make him happier.
He was shocked when, instead of commiserating, his mentor, Clarence Avant, swore and told an open-mouthed Jon to get himself together before abruptly hanging up.
A few days passed and the two men decided to meet over breakfast, where Clarence offered Jon an opportunity to cry and vent. Then, with love-laced admonition, he encouraged Jon not to give up on his marriage, offered kind advice and the two parted ways.
Platt readily admits that as a result of that conversation, life looks incredibly different now than it would have some years ago. He says, “He checked me like a father would check his son. [He] saved my marriage, saved my life and humbled me very quickly.”
Just like a star athlete with a great coach and good teammates, the people we select to occupy our friendship circle — who offer accountability, push for our growth and demand more from us — matter more than having 1,000 “Yes Men” ever will.
We see no better example of this than in the lives of Mark, Paul and Barnabas. In Acts 15, while Paul observes that Mark is unreliable, it’s Barnabas who has enough foresight to see great qualities in Mark. By the end of the account, because Barnabas doesn’t give up on his friend, Mark continues to develop. And as a result, he not only becomes a valuable part of a Christ-focused group that goes on to change the world, but he also goes on to pen one of the four gospels.
It’s important to note that life-changing friendships like these do not happen by accident. They are God-ordained, cared for with intentionality, and many times, personally requested. If you don’t currently have them, try asking God specifically to provide friendships and people that will allow you to bring out the best in one another for His glory and your good.
Much like Jon Platt, whose family gets to reap the benefits of his presence in the home, and even more so like Mark, a wisely selected friend, mentor and altogether circle can impact lives for generations.
— Jhas Williams
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