(…lay down your life for your friends… NASB)
As we face our older age, lack of retirement benefits, and the experiential knowledge that “job security” is a myth in our financially driven society, Dave and I have considered what it means to lay down your life for your friends, and who exactly are our friends.
Jesus said he did not call us servants but friends. ” A close trusting relationship between two people.” (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary)
“Close – Trusting” How many people call an acquaintance a “friend” only to find out in difficult times they are not really friends. They are not close, and certainly cannot be “trusted.” As the old adage goes, “A friend in need is a friend in deed. ” Or as James 2:18 says,
“Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” NLT
The bible is full of examples of good friends, versus not so good friends. Job’s friends are an example of what not to be, and Jonathan’s example to King David is a wonderful example of a true trusting relationship. David went through many trials and testings, the Psalms are filled with examples of deep, passionate, unbridled emotion. I have to believe that Jonathan witnessed, accepted and loved David, even when his life was difficult or his confessions not so positive.
However, even Job’s friends can be commended for doing the first step correctly – when he was in pain they showed up, even sitting silently by him for 7 days as the custom was. It was when they opened their mouths the trouble began.
We have waited for 13 months to show up on behalf of our Haitian brothers and sisters and put our faith into action – to prove ourselves “trusting” to those we hope to some day call friend. If Jesus could call us friend, then surely we need to prove ourselves worthy of friendship in the model of His acts, His love, his testimony. There are many souls perishing without God, but there are also many souls wounded and near perishing with God, for lack of close, trusting, relationships to help them stand – people willing to come beside them in the midst of pain and turmoil and to hold up a lamp when they are too weak to illuminate the path themselves. Sometimes the light is bright enough, but they just need a hand to guide them to prevent them from stumbling when the path is rocky.
Aristotle said a friend is a, “single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
May we be united in the spirit to be a light, a support, and a friend to our Haitian brothers and sisters. May God grant us the wisdom to instruct them in exactly what they need to hear, to illuminate their paths, and uphold their steps. May we be worthy of their trust, and may we be a friend to them, by the example that Jesus gave as our trusted friend. May we be wiling to lay down our lives for our friends. May our joy be full in His service and may that joy be reflected in the lives of our brothers and sisters. May the name of Jesus be glorified in all we say and do, that His name – the name above all names – is lifted high and praised. Amen.