by Pastor Tim Klein
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Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends (John 15:15).
Making friends these days can be as easy as clicking the ‘confirm friend request’ button on Facebook. Unfriending can be just as easy – just another click – but it can feel a tad brutal.
If only it was truly that simple. In real life, I have a few very close friends and then a wider circle of friends I share with my wife. Beyond that, I have many friends in congregations I have served – past and present. I also have a large number of Facebook friends.
So, I am wondering, what is it that makes a friend truly a friend?
Here’s what I think: it is someone who has shared significant times with me. Someone who will remain a friend even if I say or do something they disagree with. Perhaps someone I have grown up with who knows me well and cares about what is happening to me. And then there are those with whom I share a common interest. Sometimes friendships take a long time to grow. Other times, it’s pretty much an instant friendship. Some of my friends are people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, but when we see each other again, it’s like nothing has changed – we take up where we left off.
For me, my friends are people for whom I will go the distance, and they will do the same for me. I recall times when friends have been there when I have suffered or struggled. Other times they are there to share the joys and celebrations of my life. I would say that good friendship is an expression of love for that other person.
I feel like I am waffling a bit, but this is probably the nature of friendship. It comes in many shapes and forms, and the different characters and natures of friendships are as many as there are friends.
A true friend is a wonderful gift from God. To be a true friend is equally a gift of God.
Now when I talk about me here, I am thinking about you. All of this leads me to my true best friend – not so much about what I have done for him but what he has done and continues to do for me. This is Jesus, who knows me from the inside out. Jesus, who cares for me no matter my circumstances. Jesus, who died for me and continues to forgive my sin. Jesus, who speaks for me into the presence of our Heavenly Father. Jesus, who shares with me everything that the Lord has for me. And he does it as a friend with my best interests at heart.
It’s this Jesus and his friendship that helps me and you be the best friend we can be to all of our friends.
What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pains we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
–Joseph Scriven, 1820–1886, LH 426
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are my friend. Thank you that you speak directly into my heart. Reveal what I need to know for life with you in your kingdom. Make me the best friend I can be for all those who know and care for me and for whom I care. I ask in the name of my best friend: Jesus.