The Kind Of Friends You Can Count On

It’s hard to overestimate the value of friends.

When I attend the Southern Baptist Convention meeting each year, one of the attractions is getting to see people you don’t normally see. If you would like to see what a convention meeting for pastors is like, you can click here.

Pastors, at least it’s this way with me, don’t get much time to just be friends.

If I play golf or go to a ball game, I often find myself in a counseling situation or trying to help someone fill a need in their life. I don’t mind that at all. Actually, it’s the way I expect my life to be. God called me to do this, and I am at perfect peace with this plan of God.

At the same time, I really enjoy seeing a few special friends. Two of those are people I roomed with at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

This week the three couples spent an evening together as we have done at the SBC over the last few years.

I first met Al Jackson in an early class at Auburn University. We were both in a political science class, and we hit it off immediately. We were the same age and from the same general area, but it was our shared sense of faith in God that brought us together.

We became good friends. I already was a pastor and before long Al sensed God’s leading on his life as well. We both transferred to Samford so we could study religion. We roomed together and one of our suite mates was Rodney Minor. We were juniors and he was a freshmen. We all lived together for three semesters and came to know each other extremely well. We came to know a lot of friends because our suite was something of a hangout place for a lot of guys.

Martha says I am different with Al and Rodney than with anyone else. Their wives say the same about them. We simply have a long-term special friendship. We say what we think and often challenge each other’s views and ideas. We certainly know how to laugh at each other and at ourselves.

It’s a special friendship.

One of the reasons we are still friends is that we have all been called to Christian ministry.

In this blog, we have talked about the difficulty of ministry. Not many people remain in ministry all of their lives. Rod and Al have been faithful servants of God since college.

Al has served as pastor of the Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama, since 1979. The church has grown explosively under his leadership.

Rodney served with the Home Mission Board of the SBC (now the North American Mission Board) for a number of years. He, too, is a long term pastor of the Anderson Mill Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.

I am proud of my friends. They are deeply devoted to God, their churches, and their families. They have been through many tough decisions and still remain faithful to God.

This had to have been something like Paul felt when he told the church at Philippi: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” (Philippians 1:3).

Thank you for reading. If you would like to receive a devotional such as this each day, you can subscribe at the top of the page. If you find this helpful, please share with others.




  1. Rod Minor
    Jun 13, 2013

    Well said and a sentiment shared. Thanks for being my friend – one on which I can count.

  2. Ann
    Jun 13, 2013

    When I first glanced at this, I thought it said, “The King of Friends You Can Count On”…that’d work, too!

    • Waylon
      Jun 13, 2013

      Yes, it would be great. They really are!

  3. Ed Matthew
    Jun 13, 2013

    A gift indeed…

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[The Birth of Jesus Foretold] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” — Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)