The 10 percent

by Neil Greathouse

If you’ve ever gone to somebody’s house for dinner or to watch the big game, something happens over the course of the evening. And no, I’m not talking about destroying their bathroom and blaming one of their kids. (You know who you are.)

The majority of the conversation takes place in the living room or the dining room or wherever you were trash talking someone during the game. But inevitably, any conversation that has real meaning or depth happens in the kitchen. It’s called the last 10 percent.

This is the conversation that you wanted to have in front of everyone else, but you weren’t sure how they would take it. And if you’re lucky enough, you have an incredible friend in your life who is willing to tell you the 10 percent that no one else will.

The 90 percent could be all about how you were doing great or keep up the good work or, wow, that lower back tattoo looks great. But then after you walk out of the room, your real friends will walk with you and tell you the truth. The things that you really need to hear. Like just before you got that tattoo of the Blue Angels flying in formation across your lower back.

I remember having a moment where my wife, Gina, and I craved the 10 percent so much; we needed someone to be real with us. We were in the middle of a huge transition in our lives — potential job change and moving across the country were the topic for most of our conversations. You know those conversations where you’re not sure what to do and you just want to walk into the woods, grow a beard and live off the land instead of make a decision? In those times, you need Godly wisdom. And you need a real friend.

We called the one family we knew would shoot us straight, even if we didn’t like the answer. We called Rick and Michelle Bezet. We’d met them years earlier at a student ministry retreat and just immediately felt like they were family — crazy Cajun family with an accent we could barely understand, but still a family!

We watched them raise their kids well and keep integrity in ministry. They were examples to us over the course of about 10 years of ministry, and we saw the one thing that impressed us more than anything. Authenticity. Not living one public life and a different private life. Just being real. Real in their approach toward God and real in their daily lives with people.

The Bible talks about having a real friend, and it also talks about what Godly Wisdom is worth. Proverbs 8:11 says, “Wisdom is more precious than rubies.” The Hope Ruby recently sold at auction for $6.7 million dollars, and wisdom is far more valuable than that. I’d also say that having a real friend is pretty priceless, too.

I hope you have someone in your life like my pastor, Rick Bezet. He wrote a book called Be Real that reads like a conversation with a best friend. For me, it’s like getting the 10 percent on paper and having it every day. Disclaimer: there are no chapters on tattoo removal. 


Neil Greathouse is a pastor at New Life Church in Conway. He and his wife, Gina, have three kids. Neil can be reached at [email protected].