A Friend of Mine

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:17 NLT)

True friendship is a blessing that is a rare treasure in today’s world. Friendship, like what many think of when they use the word “love,” is not “a many splendored thing,” as the old song suggests, rather it has become a matter of convenience. In too many people’s lives friendship comes with conditions.

I have very few lifelong friends, partly because at my age some of my closest and dearest friends have died, but also because friendship, if it’s worthwhile, requires an investment of time and effort. How many times has a name raced across your mind and you realize it’s been years since you even thought of them?

The Hebrew word that is translated “loyal” in the verse above can also be translated “love.” But unlike the Greek word “agape,” used of God’s love in the New Testament, the Hebrew word used here is more akin to how we use the word in English. We say: “I love ice cream, sports, cars, jewelry, hats, oh yeh, and Jesus.” The point is, love and friendship, at least as the Bible uses those terms, are inextricably interwoven.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Jesus said in John 15:14-15: “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are My friends since I have told you everything the Father told Me.” Friends confide in one another, they share life together, they sacrifice time, energy and effort when it’s not convenient. They’re what we hear often at church – “our 2 a.m. friends.” They’re the ones who are called in an emergency knowing the hour isn’t an issue.

In our relationship with Jesus, though unique on many levels, the basic template for loving and being His friend is the same as loving and being anyone else’s friend. John Sammis was a songwriter, likely best known for his song: “Trust and Obey,” but he wrote another song entitled “A friend of Mine,” a couple lines from which say: “The golden sun, the silver moon, and all the stars that shine, are His alone, yes, every one, and He’s a Friend of mine. Why should I charge my soul with care? The wealth of every mine belongs to Christ, God’s Son and Heir, and He’s a Friend of mine. He’s your Friend too!’”

Have you ever stopped to ponder the weight of those words? Have you considered “What a Friend you have in Jesus?” What if you’d never heard His holy name? What if no one had ever shared His life and love with you? It’s frightening to consider spending an eternity separated from Him, yet that’s the plight of billions of people, largely because we assume someone else will tell them.

In Luke 16 Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. According to the story, the rich man went to Hades or the place of the dead, while Lazarus “…was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.” As in life, the rich man was first concerned about himself and asked Abraham to send Lazarus “to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue.” But when he learned of the unbridgeable chasm that separated them, he begged Abraham to send Lazarus “to my father’s home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.”

Would to God that we would be the kind of friends who warn our friends and loved ones of the coming wrath of God for those who are too busy, too lazy, or too preoccupied to give Jesus a thought, oblivious to the coming tsunami of God’s eternal judgment that is on its way.

If you know with certainty that Jesus is your Savior and Friend – Hallelujah! That’s great news, but please, I implore you, don’t keep that Good News to yourself!

Blessings, Ed

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