A Friendship To Celebrate
The Great Adventure Prelude
What makes a good friend? Think about it for a second. If I asked you to make a mental check list of qualities that we might say a good friend should have, what would you include in your list. Now I suspect that we might have a variety of responses. But if after the lists were construction, what qualities would you set aside as your top five?
For me, I might say the following; LOYALTY, FAITHFULNESS, FORGIVENESS, LOVE, and GRACE.
Loyalty… I would hope that a good friend would have my back, that they would be there when you need them.
Faithfulness… A good friend should be faithful. They hold up their end of the relationship. They do what they say when the say. They come through when you need them. I would want them to trust me as much as I would want to trust them.
Forgiveness… A good friend should always be able to forgive. I am not a perfect man. I make mistakes. Many times they are unintentional. Never the less I make mistakes, so I would want a friend who is able to forgive.
Love… Not always the Eros love, but certainly the Phila love; even the Agape love. I want a friend who cares about me.
Grace… A good friend extends grace. A favor that is shared regardless of who I am. A friend accepts me for who I am and loves me any way.
While it’s not an exhaustive list, these qualities, I think serve as a starting point for what defines a good friend. But beyond our friendships, these should be the qualities that we apply to all of our relationships knowing that in every relationship, it’s a two way street with each member doing their part to make the friendship work.
I started thinking back, over the many years and the people who have shared life with me; those whom I have called FRIEND. If I were to apply this short check list of qualities to each of those relationships, there aren’t too many that I would say were real friends. They may have been close acquaintances, buddies, pals, or someone to shoot the breeze with but not really friends in this context. Then there are others; relationships that have endured time and distance. Relationships new and old that have proven their genuine sincerity. Friendships that have demonstrated the qualities, that in my mind, define what a true friend is. And when that true friendship is found, well, isn’t it a special thing?
There are many ways to define and describe the idea of friendship. And much can be said about the subtle nuances that make those true friendships so special. But there’s a friendship that, of all friendships, stands alone as one that we need to evaluate and consider. It’s perhaps an unlikely friendship at first glance, but when we take a closer look we find something worth our investigation.
Clearly there are some great friendships found in the bible. The first friendship that may jump to out at us might be David and Jonathan. Theirs was truly a special relationship; one that we often use to teach the importance of being a good friend. But others we might think of could be Paul and Silas, friends who traveled together proclaiming the gospel message. Then there’s Paul and Timothy. Clearly a mentoring relationship but still, at the heart of it we see an intimate friendship. Paul goes as far as to refer to Timothy as his son in Christ. Then we have Jesus, Peter, James and John. More commonly referred to as the inner circle, Peter, James and John have a very close relationship with Jesus, often receiving special attention or privileged with some behind the scenes happenings like the transfiguration of Jesus. But even in that, we know that out of the four, Jesus and John share an even deeper friendship. John, we are told in the gospels, lays at the right hand of Jesus at the final supper, a place of recognition and esteem. And we read that John was often referred to as, the one Jesus loved.
Now there may be others beyond the ones I’ve just mentioned briefly, but there is one friendship that I think is truly special. A friendship that goes beyond space and time. I’m thinking about the friendship between God and Abraham.
Abraham has the unique distinction of being know as God’s friend. Could you imagine? Having such a relationship with God, that HE calls YOU, his friend?
James 2:23… James writes
“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.”
2 Chronicles 20:7… Jehoshsphat, speaking in front of the people gathered at the temple of the Lord, says among his lengthy statement in verse 7…
“O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”
Then in Isaiah 41:8, we see God make the statement,
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham MY FRIEND.”
Who was Abraham and what was it that he did to be honored by such words of endearment, my friend? That is our quest. That is where we want to begin this Great Adventure. What does it look like to be, a friend of God? Join with me over the next couple of days as we look at the adventure of Abraham as we discover what it means to be a friend of God.