Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Importance of Friendship

It has been nearly a month since I last posted a blog. Life happened. As you may know, most of my posts revolve around politics. This one will deviate from politics. I want to talk about friendship. My church brought in a guest speaker a few Sundays ago and he taught a lesson on friendship. These are my thoughts on this very subject.

I had never placed a high priority on friends. I thought I could do everything on my own and if I couldn't, it didn't need to get done. I'm not talking about Facebook friends or Twitter followers either. I'm talking about real life friends. That changed almost a year ago.

I now know why I didn't place value on friends. God was working. He knew I didn't have the right type of people around to warrant my investment of time, effort and honestly, love. I knew I loved my family, but after that, if you pressed me, I could only name one or two friends I truly loved, in the way Jesus commanded us to. Now, that number is a multitude greater.

Now, before you condemn this as not being a Christian way of thinking, my goal when I meet new people is to be their friend in Christ. It is our job as Christians to tell others about Jesus. The friends I am talking about are the ones we choose to spend time with, fellowship outside of church with and frankly(inside joke), tell our fears and triumphs to. Proverbs 27:17 comes to mind.

I have heard it said that a true friend is someone you can be your most godly self around. I find that to be so true. If someone mocks me or derides me for following Jesus when I'm around them, I'll give them a Gospel tract and be nice, but I'm not going to choose to spend my down time around that person. On the other hand, if a person encourages me in my faith and I can encourage that person too, I'm going to do what I can to cultivate a friendship.

The reason I write all of this is I have trouble counting the number of friends I've made over the past year. Who knew working in the politics could actually be good for someone? It has been for me(minus the current presidential election, that is). Most of it is due to finding a church home. I include my pastor in that long list of friends.

Something hit me yesterday while I was texting a few friends in the morning while doing my morning research. When you notice something a friend has been working on and they've seen an improvement or success in whatever they were doing, say something. Encourage them. Don't wait for them to bring up the subject. The reaction of someone having their improvement noticed is well worth the observational effort. On the same line, if you notice a friend in need, stop what you are doing and help them out. Go the extra mile.

Sometimes, a friend can also be a mentor. If you find that friend, don't let them slip away. If you find a friend who is especially good or skilled in an area you could improve on, ask to spend time with them. Learn from them. Ask questions. Conversely, if you have a friend who may benefit from your abilities or knowledge, share and help them learn. You don't have to wait for them to ask. Your gift of time is worth more than any amount of money or other earthly gift you may give.

Human beings aren't meant to be solitary creatures. God created us to commune in fellowship with each other. Will there be differences, of course, but when you find that person or group of people who are on the narrow path put forth by Jesus, don't let them go. Godly friends are worth their weight in gold.

Lastly, the most important thing you can do for your friends is pray for them. This is something I've come to appreciate about my friends. I'm not afraid to ask them to pray for me and they come to me to pray for them. Knowing that you have someone praying for you to an almighty God causes a peace that is not quantifiable. The great friend we all have told us about true friendship in John 15:13-15

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  1. Way to go Matt!! Glad I can count on you as a true friend.
    By the way, this is my first comment ever on anyone's post. (Well it is being typed by one of my children but it is entirely my words 😊)

    1. Thanks, Marlin(and the person taking dictation).

  2. Lived this post, Matt! Thanks for sharing- your thoughts were spot on. And thankd for being the encouraging, giving kind of friend to my family.

    1. Allison, you've encouraged me too. Thank you.

  3. Great post! And I'm blessed to call you a close friend!


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