I’ve been fortunate and blessed to have many dear friends in my life. I trust that you have, as well. Friendship is a rich and many faceted relationship, and mysteriously it is also one without rules. What primarily marks a good friendship is the shared willingness each one has to prefer and defer to the other’s interests, needs, and desires. In it’s truest form, it speaks of the heart of God, who is entirely faithful and trustworthy. It is a relationship that evidences the selfless love of God.
I had a friend once show up on my doorstep with 3 bags of groceries and a pair of stockings. At the time, I was responsible for teaching a weekly Bible study to several hundred women, in danger of being evicted from my home, and trying to feed a family of 5 on $25 a week. Before you fall to the temptation of feeling sorry for me, let me reassure you of my profound gratitude for that season and the friendships that were forged during that time.
On that day when my friend arrived unannounced, I had just discovered an egg-sized hole in my only pair of stockings. This was at least two decades ago, in case some of you are wondering, and I wouldn’t have been caught dead bare legged in a Bible study meeting. That her generosity included a new pair was such a joyous miracle, I promptly fell upon her neck with tears of gratitude and praise to God who’d befriended us both and taught us how to love each other.
True friendship not only comes from God, it is also His desire for us. Exodus 33:11 says, “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” And in John 15, Jesus says to His disciples, “I have called you friends.” The gospels tell us that He was a friend of sinners. Are you a friend of sinners? We are, as believers, in the community and household of God our Father. How could we not be friends with those whom the Lord Himself has befriended? We are most blessed when we see those around us as real and also potential friends of the highest and most honorable order.
O Lord, my God, blessing is yours to give, and your covenant with your people, as shown to Abraham, is a covenant of blessing. You deemed that your people would be blessed and also be a blessing. Cause the life you have given me to bless those around me. Help me to see them as chosen and befriended by You and to be open to true friendship wherein I can lay my life down in deference and preference of another’s interest rather than my own. My confidence and security is in You and in belonging to You, and so I am free to bestow blessing and live generously because of who You are. Be glorified in my relationships, Lord, and lead me in the everlasting way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Dear friend, take time this week to remember with gratitude the ones God has given to you in friendship, and ask Him to show you old and new relationships where He desires you to be a blessing. Look intentionally for ways to encourage the people in your life.
Until next week, go forth in the blessing of God and be confident in His ability to bless those around you for His name sake.