There are friendships that warm you like a fire. In a world of people that will drain you dry there are a few friends whose company is nourishment to the soul of a man. Paul is such a friend. Paul is the Director of Camp Barakel in Michigan. He is a man whose heart is steadfast for God. It is easy and natural to talk with Paul of the things of God, the work of God in women and in men, the creation of God around us, and the providence of God in history. It is sweet to pray with him, delightful to be in a meeting where he is leading those gathered in the worship of God.
With a sense of melancholy I will pack my things to leave after a weekend of ministry at Barakel. As I make my way along the gravel roads out toward the state highway Paul will be waiting by his old brown Rambler. This time of the year he is likely to be wearing a huge winter hat with glacier glasses, a thick coat, gloves and a smile. When I pull to a stop he will pull off a glove and greet me in the warm tradition of the Camp’s founder, Uncle Johnny. We will have our “until-next-time” conversation, and I always find myself praying, “Lord, if it pleases you I would love to come back again to this place that you have so obviously blessed.” Paul will hand out mints to all who are in the car and we will reluctantly drive away, our hearts enlarged with love for those we have ministered to and those we have ministered with.
Another prayer occurs to me tonight; “Lord, allow me in some way to be the kind of refreshing friend to others that Paul is to me whenever I am with him.”
I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence, for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such men.
1Co 16:17-18 ESV
Also pictured above is Jon Ford a refreshing friend in his own right. Perhaps on another day I will tell you his story…
January 8, 2007
Ken, Thank you for your portrayal of your friend, Paul. I also have a friend that is close like this. It is a good thing.
As I began eading this, a favorite scripture of mind came to mind, Proverbs 11:25:
A generous man will prosper;
he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
I am sure you have read it. It has been lived out to me by others and I try to live it out for others as often as possible.