Ointment and Perfume: the Costly Fragrance of a True Friend

lamp post“Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so does the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”
Proverbs 27:9

Sometimes I don’t realize the blessings of having good friends until I get to spend time with one who has been apart for a season.  After a separation from a true friend, those moments of being back together and of catching up are just so sweet.  What is amazing, too, is that no matter how long it has been, when finally back together with a bosom-buddy, the conversation flows as if you simply take back up where you last left off.

Recently, I had the opportunity to do just that: to take back up where I had left off with a most wonderful sister in Christ.  She is someone I can trust and with whom I can expose my frailties, knowing she won’t back away.  She will listen.  She will care.  She will understand.  Amazingly, she says I do the same for her!

The joy and privilege of sharing in sincere, soul-cleansing, hearty-counsel with a good friend contains a sweetness all its own, which is the heart of God’s message in the passage above.  It is during those precious times with a friend that there really is almost a sweet aroma that emanates forth.  Another translation puts it this way:

“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.”
NLT

The sweetness and joy that leaks out from those moments is tangible and unmistakable.  Through both laughter and tears, joy leaks out and fills the surroundings like the sweet-smelling odor of costly perfume.  It is a fragrance no money could ever buy.

In the Proverb above, there is also a hint of the woman who broke open her alabaster jar, spilling out costly perfume to wash the feet of Jesus.  She had found One who knew all of her deepest secrets and faults, yet loved her still.  She had experienced the sweet aroma of being loved and forgiven by a “…friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Prov. 18:24)  She had decided that there was no value to be placed on what she had gained by being accepted by Him.  An alabaster, filled with the costliest of perfumes, meant nothing in comparison to the costly fragrance found in the presence of a True Friend.

Originally written 1/27/10 

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