In the difficult span of a week a man I met recently went through a torrent of problems, some of his own making, in which he said he lost all but one of his friends. That one friend called me and asked me to meet with him just to talk. She briefed me on the man's situations and gave me his phone number so I could call him and set a time to meet.

When the man and I got together near Florence, Kentucky, he didn't talk immediately about his problems. He wanted to talk about his friend. When news of his problems got out several of the people he felt closest to called him and told him that they just could not continue to be his friends. One person called him to see how he was surviving and to ask how she could help.

Walter Winchell once remarked, "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." This man was so touched by his friend's grace in his situation. She was unconcerned about why the problems were in existence. She figured he knew those answers. She simply wanted to help him direct his attention to surviving the problems and getting his life back together.

"In all my years of ministry I had never really understood the impact of the life of Christ until she introduced him to me through her life," he told me. Yes, he is a minister who not only lost his friends but also lost his job. Throughout our talk he kept coming back to the life of Christ. We spent a lot of time talking about Jesus and His friendship to us.

"Now I know what Jesus meant," he slowly said, "when He said, 'Greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friends.' " John 15:13 "He wasn't just talking about the physical life. He also meant the social life; our reputations." My friend who called me has become an outcast from her church due to her helping this man. When I called her back she said, "If Jesus is to be his friend then I have to be his friend." Amen.