By Chris WittsSaturday 11 May 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
Is there anything more valuable than friendship? Probably not. If you were to list all of Iife’s prized treasures,friendship would be at or near the top of the list. Young,old,male or female,married or single ” we all need friends. Rupert Brooke,the soldier-poet said few things are worth more than “laughter learned of friends”.
I think everyone wants to have a friend… but building the bridge of friendships to others is not always easy. For a start,like most bridges,friendship has to be built from two sides. We can be friendly to another,only to find there is no response. Then sometimes we resist friendship ourselves. We hesitate to open ourselves up because we fear ridicule or rejection… we can’t accept that people really care about us,and so the bridge of friendship is not built.
But when friendships are struck,a new dimension is added to our lives. We all need friends. No one likes to be alone all the time… indeed,it is a wise person who strives to build friendships. In the good and bad times of life,we have people around us who support,encourage,and give us trust,love and admiration. But let’s be clear in saying an “acquaintance” is not necessarily a friend. You can have many acquaintances,but friends are not as plentiful. A friend is a special person who understands you,shares your hopes and sorrows,and accepts you as you are. In fact,I think that true friendship is extremely rare. To have one good,trustworthy accepting friend is a precious gift. Women tend to have more friends than men.
This whole issue of friendship is crucial in an age when so many are lonely,searching for connections. But let me introduce Jesus into this topic. The Christian gospel is essentially an offer of friendship,made by Jesus Christ to all people everywhere. It didn’t matter who they were – rich or poor,favoured or despised,men and women found themselves embraced by the friendship of Jesus. He demonstrated love and care to everyone. But not everyone appreciated His generous spirit… He was given a nick name that has become a wonderful title.. “Jesus – Friend of Sinners”. With Jesus,as He moved among people,the unacceptable became acceptable,and the unwanted people found themselves needed. No-one needs to feel friendless when Jesus came to be their friend. In fact,he demonstrated just how much He is our friend by giving up His life for us. John 15:13 says,”There is no greater love than this,that a man should lay down his life for his friends”.
How do we build friendships today? The OT story of Jonathon and David give a clue. It was an unlikely friendship… Jonathon was the crown prince of Israel. His father – a powerful and popular king. David was a shepherd boy whose parents did not have much political clout. In time David was proclaimed King in waiting,so there were tensions between Saul and David. David had to hide in the desert and Jonathon goes out to be his friend. Quite a risky move. But Jonathon recognised that true friendship meant sacrificial love and commitment… they cared for each other and trusted each other,and even made a covenant of their friendship. They encouraged each other. David could have easily given into despair and anger,but Jonathon went out of his way to encourage and console him in a time of crisis.
I believe God calls us to friendship that is committed,loving and encouraging,in unconditional ways. John 15:15).