Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Mr. or Mrs. Friend

My best-known identity is that of friend.

     I am a wife to one, David. I am a daughter of two, my dad and mom. I am a mother to two, Russell and Sheryle. I am a sibling to three, a sister and two brothers. I am grandmother to five. However, I am a friend to many.

           If you are like me, your best-known identity is that of friend. As we do life, we have a limited number of relationships that come about because of the relatives God presents to us. As we know, blood kin can produce some of our closest friends.

           Throughout lifespans, we encounter others who become friends, rising to significant numbers. I imagine we all have yet to meet some friends we will dearly treasure. Turn a metaphorical corner in life, and boom, we meet different people, and encounter probable new friends.

           Enemies don’t form friendships, or people with opposite opinions don’t think alike, so they prefer not to spend time with each other. Friendships occur among those who have something in common. A number of avenues bring us to friendships: church, politics, sports, hobbies, support groups, medical problems, kinship ties, careers, armed services, schools, social clubs, service organizations, neighborhoods, or providential meetings.

           Sometimes it takes very little in common to make a friendly alliance. Sydney Smith said, “Madam, I have been looking for a person who disliked gravy all my life; let us swear eternal friendship.”

           I’ve found that friendships, which have grown from mutual agape love, have helped to keep me sane through some of life’s darkest moments. Friendships enrich our lives. The characteristics of healthy friendships are many, here are just a few: humor, reliability, accountability, sharing, kindness, listening, and respect.

           At a conference this week, I watched a short video about poverty, where the narrator asked people what they thought poverty meant. They answered lack of food, lack of money, lack of shelter, and transportation.

           Then he asked another question to those same middle class citizens, if you lost all today and had absolutely no resources, how long would it take you to find food, shelter, and employment? Most answered that they could find food in a couple of hours, shelter within 24 hours, and work within a week’s time. Why? They said they could depend on friends to help them.

           I got it. I understood that for the desperate who have nothing a friend is the most valuable thing in life. In addition, for those who have everything – same answer. Friends are our most valuable asset in any economic situation.

           Some friends come into our lives and stay until we draw our last breath. Others are not so permanent. We can think of friends who only had relationship with us for a while. For many reasons, they were short term. Perhaps they came into our lives for a reason, for us to help them or them to help us. Other friends are seasonal friends, such as my dear friend Bev Grayson. I knew her only six years before she left this earth.  

           A fragrant, sugar crusted loaf of friendship bread doesn’t last long in my household, but friendships fueled by the ingredients of heaven endure and have an eternal shelf life. Friendships remain an integral part of our lives because Triune God lives in community and created beings capable of community with him and each other.

           Many scriptures give guidance for friendships, a component of friendships is humility, because it takes a humble person to learn from another and to allow a friend to help.

           This week, when you gather with friends, leave them better than you found them, because “As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

           Hunger for Humility: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the
man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)



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