Most of us think we are going to meet our best friends through fun, casual activities. We go to sporting events, church activities and social gatherings in hopes of meeting people who will add value to our lives. While this is certainly a viable option, another way to find good friends is through hard work.

Paul’s Secret To Lasting Friendship

The apostle Paul wrote much of the New Testament and is well-known for his logical development of theology and for intense challenges. He doesn’t get enough credit for having a strong circle of friends. In Romans 16, he sends warm greetings to no less than 28 people. This is not a list of “the people I need to thank so they won’t be offended.” It is a list of heartfelt friendships that enhanced Paul’s life. In this list, Paul reveals one of the strongest friendship principles on earth: you will meet some of your best friends through the work you do together.

Work That Makes Friends

It is not just generic work, however, that will lead you to your closest confidants. The kind of work that has the potential to build lasting friendships is characterized by the following:

  • The work is focused on a cause you care about. Paul was drawn to people who were “co-workers in Christ Jesus,” “have been in prison with me,” and “work hard in the Lord.” The gospel of Jesus Christ was a life-changing, monumentally important part of Paul’s life. When he encountered others who were voluntarily willing to put great effort into the cause of Christ, he was drawn to them. They applauded his intense commitment because it was how they also wished to live. For Paul, it was the gospel. For you, it may be ministry, music, youth sports, technology, helping the disadvantaged, etc. When you find people who share your dedication to working hard at the cause, it will be easier to become friends.
  • The work is focused on helping others in some way. At their core, causes result in doing good for others. It may be direct, like feeding the homeless or it may be indirect, like helping with a petition drive, running/walking to raise money or cleaning up in the neighborhood. Paul and his good friends had a shared sense of satisfaction because they believed their work was making a positive contribution.
  • The motivation to work arises from a sincere heart. In other words, the work is done because we want to not because we have to. In Paul’s circle, they were involved because they were “in the Lord.” They believed Jesus had done much for them, so they wanted to return the favor and do good for others. Paul knew these people had pure motives and natural energy because it came from within.
  • The work exceeds expectations. When people are “required” to do something, they tend to do the minimum to get by. When people seek a goal because they love it, they tend to put their best foot forward and seek the best possible outcome. Paul seems astounded that people voluntarily “worked very hard in the Lord,” and even gives Rufus’ mom credit for being like a mom to him also.

If you are looking for good friends, consider getting involved in a cause you care about and work hard to make it a success. Then look around and see who else is working at the same level you are. They just might become your new best friends.

You may also be interested in What Does A BFF Look Like? 3 Examples Of Friendship In The Bible

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