Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2010
Scripture: 1 Samuel 14:6-13; 24-26; 18; 19; 31:1-7; 2 Samuel 1:5-12; 2 Kings 6:8-17.
“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1).
The amazing rescue of 33 Chilean miners last week reveals a lesson about friendships forged under pressure. The jubilation above ground might cause us to overlook what happened 2,300 feet below, insights that help us understand men and friendships. Perhaps this is a window into the friendship of Jonathan and David.
Psychology Today featured an article on the topic of the Chilean miner’s experience and men’s friendships. Common difficult experiences can forge friendships that can last a lifetime. “Modern social scientists would certainly concur. Commonality can breed closeness.” Though these men have a lot of differences among them, “…they will hopefully emerge from this highly traumatic and seminal experience … as warriors who have fought together.” 1
Two Aussie miners who spent a couple of weeks trapped in a mine in 2006 would strongly agree. Brant Webb and Todd Russell were stuck in a space so small they could barely move. In speaking of the Chilean miners, they say, “They’ve probably got bonds now that can’t be broken and they probably know more about each other than anyone else does, because they’ve had nothing else to talk about but their lives… They can’t talk work because no work is going on. They would have run out of jokes in a couple of days.” 2
WebMD tells us, “A new study shows that having a group of good friends around may be even more important than family for a long and healthy life… Researchers followed nearly 1,500 people over the age of 70 for 10 years and found that the people with the strongest network of good friends lived longer than those with the fewest close friends.” 3 Friendships promote a long life.
The example of a deep, true friendship in our Sabbath school lesson this week between Jonathan and David shows us the power of close bonds between people that goes beyond blood relations. Jonathan interceded for David with his father, King Saul … risking his own life in the process. He was willing to give of himself at great cost. When David was in hiding from Saul, Jonathan searched and found him in order to encourage David.
Ellen White writes, “Jonathan, by birth heir to the throne, yet knowing himself set aside by the divine decree; to his rival the most tender and faithful of friends, shielding David’s life at the peril of his own; steadfast at his father’s side through the dark days of his declining power, and at his side falling at the last—the name of Jonathan is treasured in heaven, and it stands on earth a witness to the existence and the power of unselfish love” (Education, p. 156).
I can’t help but believe that part of the bond between Jonathan and David was forged through the difficulties they experienced with Jonathan’s father. The challenges they faced together strengthened their friendship. Perhaps we might live longer and enjoy life more with each other in the church if, instead of attacking each other, we faced trials together. Instead of complaining about our challenges, our difficulties can forge friendships that will last forever.