Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


My Friends

  • Jim Townsley
  • Aug 17, 2016
I recently made a long list of friends that I have gained over the years. The list includes preachers, missionaries, evangelists, Christian laymen, family members and teachers. I was reminded that each one had become a part of who I am. It has been said that, “you will be the same tomorrow as you are today except for the people you meet or the books you read.” Our friends not only define who we are, they help us become who we are. The wrong friends will influence us for evil and godly friends will influence us for good. Do you remember the influence of Jonadab? The Scripture states, “Amnon had a friend” and this friend led Amnon to make the worst decision of his life. David had a friend that was a true friend, who helped him become a better man and helped prepare him to become king. 
My list of friends includes some people who are unsaved and my relationship with them primarily is to reach them with the gospel. However, the friends with whom I am closest are the most dedicated and committed believers that live on the face of the earth. Many have challenged me to commit my life completely to God and serve the Lord with all of my heart. Their example of service, sacrifice and faithfulness has blessed my life and in many cases my entire family. These godly servants have walked by faith; often they have served in obscurity and ultimately have brought glory to God. Good friends bring out the best in all of us.
I will forever be indebted to my parents for their selfless sacrifice and their endless commitment to provide for my needs. Also, I would not be saved or in the ministry today except for the faithful service of a country preacher and his wife, who influenced me to attend a Christian college. The pastor and president of the college I attended impacted my life in such a way that I became a totally different person, committed and prepared to serve the Lord. It was at this institution that I developed lifelong friendships that would help mold my life.
Through many years of ministry I have had the privilege of meeting scores of preachers, many of whom have impacted my life for good. I have had the privilege of knowing missionaries that literally have left all behind and gone to a difficult field where they expended their life for the gospel.  These wonderful saints have challenged my commitment to God. 
I can honestly say I have hundreds of friends that have had a part in making me who I am today. Among the hundreds of my friends there are a select few that have had the greatest impact on my life. Certainly my family would be at the top of this special list, but others I have met through the providence of God along my journey of life have also had an impact on my life. 
One of the life-changing moments in my life was through the influence of the writing of John R. Rice and the Sword of the Lord. Through the influence of the Sword I was challenged challenged in the matter of soul-winning. Another life changing moment was through the influence of a missionary who broadened my vision to see an entire world in need of the gospel. In addition, an evangelist and a Bible teacher gave me much insight into building a Christian home. As I think upon the past I recognize that I am indebted to many people for their godly influence which has molded my philosophy of child-rearing and marriage. I can fondly recall two preacher brothers who broadened my understanding of church construction along with a Christian layman that helped me to understand the Lord’s work should be done first class. I fondly remember a humble preacher who traveled the country while living in a small trailer that gave me help to start a church and gave me the vision to start other churches out of our church. I am especially grateful for those stalwart preachers who taught me the importance of being a fundamental Baptist. I’m not sure where I would be today but for the many preachers who have given me strength and encouragement during times of despair and confusion.
This list of people who have influenced my life is long and I must recognize I am privileged to have such a wonderful list of dedicated servants I can call my friends. I am humbled as I reflect on the great people God had brought into my life. Yes, I am grateful for my friends. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” -- Proverbs 27:17