“Friends are the bacon bits in the salad bowl of life.” —Pizza Place Sign

It never ceases to amaze me the things that God uses to bring spiritual truths to our mind. They don’t always come from sermons or our Bible devotions or even during our prayer time. Sometimes they come from unexpected sources and at the oddest of times. One of those times happened to me recently and I’d like to share it with you.

A few days ago as I was sitting in the waiting room of our physician’s office, I was casually flipping through a magazine when my attention was drawn to an article about a little snail called a pinna that lives in our waterways. It seems this little creature has two big problems. He is blind and he has a host of enemies. All kinds of creatures are lurking around…creatures who would love to eat the little snail or steal his shell—and he can’t even see them coming.

One of the worst enemies of the pinna is a critter called the cuttle fish. No sooner does the pinna open his bi-valve shell than the cuttle fish rushes in and sets up housekeeping. This makes it extremely difficult for the pinna to get along. Since his shell is basically a one-room affair, with the cuttle fish crammed in, there is nothing the pinna can do but to hang out the window, so to speak. This is trouble for the pinna since all his other enemies would love to swim by and dine on some escargot hanging out a window. Sounds kind of miserable, doesn’t it?

Fortunately, for the snail, he has a friend. A tiny little crab-like animal that has very keen eyesight. This crab-like creature is the constant companion of the pinna. He also lives in the pinna’s shell, but his diminutive size doesn’t crowd things too much. Whenever the pinna is hungry, he opens his valve and sends his little friend out to find food. If an enemy approaches, the watchful crab dashes back to his blind protector who quickly closes the valve as soon as his friend is safely inside. On the other hand, when the crab has returned with food, and no foe is nearby, he squeaks gently at the opening of the shell. The snail responds by opening the “door” and the two dine together on the results of the crab’s food expedition.

As I finished reading the article, the thought came to me that in human circles we call that kind of mutual assistance “friendship”. In many ways, just like the little snail and his crabby friend, we too depend upon those who are our friends; sometimes for our very lives.

The Bible describes the friendship as shared by the pinna and the crab with these words:

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”   Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

North American Indians had no written vocabulary before the white man came, but his language was certainly not primitive. The vocabularies amongst many of the Indian tribes were every bit as large as their French and English exploiters. Our English concept of ‘friend’ was quite eloquently described among some of the Indians as, “one who carries my sorrows on his back.” Thankfully, each of us has a friend that is willing to do just that. His name is Jesus. We need only to call out His name and He responds. Opening His arms to receive us as friends. He is our comforter, protector, refuge, companion and TRUE FRIEND. True friends are indispensable. If you have been blest with true friends in this life, you have a fortune that exceeds any earthly measure.

Pastor Bill