"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Faithful Friends

As I count the considerable and undeserved blessings of my life, faithful friendships inevitably make the top 10. These are people who understand reciprocity, the give and take of relationships. More importantly to me as time rolls on, they share the common bond of faith and purpose that motivates my life. They are not only faithful to me, but are also full of faith.

With what might at first be a personal aside (we are tempted to skim over) Paul speaks of such relationship when he refers to Timothy and the Philippian church:

I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me... (Philippians 2:19-23)

Paul speaks so highly of Timothy as he "has proved himself" a true partner in the gospel who has a genuine interest in the well-being of others (not just himself). It is absolutely biblical, if we follow Paul's example, to evaluate relationships in such a manner. This proving, of course, goes way beyond saying the right (flattering) words when it suits us. We prove ourselves by staying the course of the furtherance of the gospel even when it seems no one is looking. There is no room for facades or divisiveness in it. We honor one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)

I love the realistic undertones of these verses. Even Paul knew the loneliness that comes with the realization that such friends are a rarity in this world (I have no one else like him...everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ). Nevertheless, his overarching message in this letter is one of relentless joy, as he focuses on the true friend in the Lord that he does have in Timothy.

If we bring this passage home to our hearts, we might evaluate, first, the quality of friendship we offer others. Honestly, whose best interest are we invested in? What is our common mission (recreation, ego, competition, or the gospel)? As we look around in our lives, who can we be thankful for? Do we thank God for them? Do we thank them?

God, please, make me such a friend to others. Help me to notice those in my life who follow hard after you, shoulder to shoulder, for the sake of your Kingdom. Amen

No comments:

Post a Comment