It has been almost 50 years that I first remember reading stories of David and Jonathan in the Book of Samuel; I couldn’t put the bible down once I got started. I was intrigued by the powerful relationship they had…. men of great courage and love for God and magnificent loyalty… their love for God was contagious.
The other day I was listening to Fr. Mike Schmitz describing Jonathan & David’s “virtuous friendship”…. a friendship not due to convenience or utility or pleasure… but based on having the same goals… their whole life dedicated to serving God, putting their money where their mouth was. 1Sam.20 is truly one of my favorite passages in the Bible.
It brought back to mind the early days of my walk with the Lord where I was seeking like minded men who desired to put the Lord first and serve him without reserve, with all their heart. I had some friends where the Lord was only part of what they sought; other interests also had a big place… career, vacation, sports, travel…good things in themselves, but often sought at the expense of serving the Lord.
It was a great day when I found other men “who wanted to sell all for the kingdom of God, for the treasure in the field” (Mt. 13:44). I knew that I wanted to throw my lot in with these men. God was first and his will was the final arbiter of what to do. Some of these men were celibate…religious brothers and priests, but many of them were married men with families. Men who were trying to serve God in the midst of business careers and raising families.
While there was a path to priesthood and religious life, there was not a blueprint for married men and women. In many ways it was new territory. Yet it was exciting. “Jesus is Lord” was the guiding light. We tried to put all at the feet of the Lord.
Rereading First Samuel again reminded me of those first moments of finding friends with a kindred spirit…men and women who wanted to risk all for the kingdom of God. It didn’t all work out perfectly. We made mistakes, but it was worth it. I would do it again. There was a lot of good fruit. You just can’t out give God in generosity. Many of those good friends from 40-50 years ago have finished the race and have gone on to their reward. I’m confident that their homecoming was magnificent.
It’s also good to know that many of the sons and daughters of this generation have also decided to “follow Jesus”… to sell all for the kingdom of God. So the call remains to “ seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Mt. 6:33) And that is very good news.