Friday, March 6, 2015

Marvin J. Ashton on the blessing of true friends

Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915-1994) served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles from 1971 until his death in 1994 at age 78.
"A friend in the true sense is not a person who passively nods approval of our conduct or encourages improper behavior. A friend is a person who cares. When we lose someone who cares about us, we lose one of our most valuable assets. An Arabian proverb helps us:
"'A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.'
"A friend is a priceless possession because a true friend is one who is willing to take us the way we are but is able to leave us better than he found us. We are poor when we lose friends because generally they are willing to reprove, admonish, love, encourage, and guide for our best good. A friend lifts the heavy heart, says the encouraging word, and assists in supplying our daily needs. As friends we will make ourselves available without delay to those who need us."
- Marvin J. Ashton, "It's No Fun Being Poor," BYU Devotional, 30 March 1982
Click here to read the full talk
As we consider those we interact with, most of us can relate to Elder Ashton's description. We can identify when someone has filled the role of a "friend in the true sense" by their caring attitude, willingness to forgive or correct, and encouraging spirit.

A better question to ponder is, have *I* been that kind of friend to others? Do I demonstrate real care for those I associate closely with? Do I seek out opportunities to lift and encourage, to forgive freely and completely, and to be "available without delay" to supply needs?

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