1989 was an exceptional year, I think. Not just because Taylor Swift was born, but because of things like The Berlin Wall came down, the world wide web flickered on, and I began a crazy cool marriage to the love of my life.
Back in the day, two guys in Nashville joined with some songwriting buddies at the famous eatery called Tavern on the Row. They ate a bunch of food, drank a round of drinks, and threw song ideas back and forth, as you would if that was what you did.
When the check came, Earl Bud Lee realized he had forgotten his money. He was asked how he was going to pay for the meal, and he replied, “Don’t worry. I have friends in low places. I know the cook.” Lee and his songwriting partner, Dewayne Blackwell, immediately recognized that the line, “friends in low places” had potential.
Not long after, the same two were at a party, celebrating a recent #1 hit by another songwriter. They began to talk about the title and the idea of “friends in low places” and, “at that very moment, it all started to come together in a song,” Lee said. They didn’t have any paper so they wrote the song on napkins and took it back to the house for polishing up. When it came time to put it on a tape to shop around as a demo, they asked a guy who sold shoes in Nashville if he would sing it for them. He was a struggling musician with wild ambition and his name was Garth Brooks.
Nobody had heard of him or the song, but the next year that same tune spent four weeks at #1 on the Hot Country Songs, and won both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association awards for 1990 Single of the Year.
ALL KINDS OF FRIENDS
I have had friends in all kinds of places throughout my life, both low and high. I have learned a lot about friends in my forty-nine years. Because I still live in the same area where I grew up, I have friends right now that I knew in elementary school, and it’s a wonderful thing to enjoy friendships that last over forty years.
Because I am a pastor, I have experienced the great pain of losing friends that I love very much. You do that when you pastor a congregation. The single hardest thing about pastoring a church is knowing that no matter how great of friends you are with people, they can turn on you after one single service or one thing that they don’t agree with and never ever speak to you again. I am talking about never again.
David knew it. That’s why he says in Psalm 41:9: “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.”
Friends will do that sometimes, so will family. People are selfish and when they don’t get their way, they can be crazy. With that said, you might as well risk having friends anyway.
In the Ecclesiastes 4:10, King Solomon said this: “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!
The fact of the matter is that life is much better with friends, and the Bible has a lot to say about friendship. I think companionship and being friends is really God’s idea. Look at these verses about the importance of friendship:
Proverbs 11:14 – Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
C.S. Lewis said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” He also said, “The next best thing to being wise oneself is to live in a circle of those who are.”
Let’s you and me make sure that we are good friends to our friends. Luke 6:31 says, “…as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.”
My good friend King Jesus is the ultimate example of a selfless friend. If you haven’t been friends with Him you should look Him up. Because He is a wonderful person to know.