Tena koutou, and greetings church family.
While praying about the pastoral message for this week the words that came to mind were: prayers, community, faith and friends. I have chosen “friends” as a topic for some reflection for this week.
This week Felicity and I had our friends Rev Ian and Alison Johnston from Auckland sharing a couple days with us at our home here in Tauranga. Felicity has known both Ian and Alison for over fifty-two years and I have known them for forty three years. We have grown up together as young married couples, our children all grew up together sharing some amazing experiences in family birthdays, church camps and sporting and school celebrations.
Felicity and I have been blessed with our friendship over the years. Ian and I were prayer partners after I gave my heart to the Lord, we went out street evangelising and he really supported me in my early walk with the Lord. Felicity and Alison are childhood friends and have this amazing connection as sisters in the Lord.
Christian friendships are one of the greatest blessings of God. In his book, Mastering Personal Growth, Donald W. McCullough wrote:
“When we consider the blessings of God — the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering — friendship is very near the top.”
Here are some scriptures to ponder on abut friendship:
As iron sharpens iron so a friends sharpens a friend “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
Friends encourage us to our highest good (1 Thessalonians 5:11); Friends forgive each other and help each other in difficulties (Colossians 3:13; Ecclesiastes 4:10).
Friends love each other the same way Christ loves us (John 15:12-13);
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
Jesus invites us to be His friend. He is a friend for life, He invites us to come follow “I am the way the truth and the light”
This week, perhaps there is a friend you haven’t contacted in a while. Why not give them a ring or text, arrange a coffee or even an email. Making friends takes effort and keeping their friendship is something to be treasured.