Honestly, how many friends do you have? Are you making new friends? There are several reasons why we have few friends or no new friends. One reason could be that a friend hurt us. Another that we have good friends and have no time for more. Another that we think that being alone is the way of a truly faithful Christian. Many people including pastors subscribe to the third reason. Have you ever heard anyone say, “It is lonely at the top”? We lie to ourselves saying, “Devout Christians have few friends because they are spiritual”. Maturing in Christ doesn’t equate to having no friends or only Christian friends. In fact, living as Christ lived looks much differently. Allow me to remind you that Jesus was accused of being a friend of sinners. Living as Christ did balances spiritual integrity while befriending people that are broken and sinful.
In his work on David, Chuck Swindoll writes, “ Friends are like sheltering trees.” In other words friends provide protection and encouragement to one another. Swindoll continues, “Friendship is where we find the hands of God ministering, encouraging, giving, and supporting…” Think about Jesus hanging with prostitutes, tax collector and good ole’ sinners, why was he there? Jesus was a shelter for people burned by their sin, the world, and the religious. As Jesus was a tree, so we shall be trees of refuge and the church an ever-growing grove of oaks.
The first step in becoming a tree is to open your eyes. Who do you need to befriend? Is it someone on your kid’s ball team? Is it a teacher? A Babysitter? An old friend? It is likely someone that you have not yet met. Pray that God will open your eyes and give you the opportunity to be a friend. And remember that there is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother”!
“No longer do I call you servants for the servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends…”- Jesus