The temperatures are in the fifties and believe it or not, it is December! In Georgia! No heavy coats, no boots, and no gloves. After all, it is the south. When most of the country is enjoying a white Christmas, the south was as brown as it can be. Last week I had a visit from my friend Cheryl who lives in Ohio. She and her family had not been to Georgia and could not believe that they could go hiking. To them, fifty degrees felt like we were experiencing a heatwave. Our friends could not believe that they had left behind four feet of snow in the ground. “This feels great”. I will come back to that later. Stick around!
The term friend has come to mean a lot of different things, credit to the new and emerging society powered by social media. For instance, a person can be your friend even if you have never physically met them. If they follow you on Facebook, they are considered your friends. They may not necessarily be people you now. They can be your friends because they like what you posted. How do you define friendship?
If you were to look at all the people that you know, you will notice that you relate to them at different levels. There are some that are friends by involvement, people you do things with. This could be your co-workers or someone you meet at a gym class. Other friends are in your life because of their trustworthiness and dependability. A special level of friendship involves those that, not only are they associated and loyal to you, but there also exists a level of affection between you. The Webster dictionary goes farther to state that a friend is one whose company you desire and you seek to promote their happiness and prosperity.
How is this demonstrated in the Bible? In both the Old and New Testament, we can see how all these levels of friendship demonstrated. The life of Jesus on earth is a good example of how we should live ours. He proved His affection for us by coming to earth as a human and dying on the cross for us. Not only did He have affection, But He was also associated with all ranks of the human race. The fishermen, the tax collectors, and even traitors. Yet He called them friends.
Back to my friend Cheryl. When we lived in the same city, we saw each other each week because we were in the same homeschool co-op. We did 4-H together, and other such activities. Although we were separated by about 700 miles, that did not present a barrier in our friendship. As it so happened, Cheryl found herself in a situation where she needed assurance and guidance and most importantly, prayers for one of her sons who was out of the country on a mission trip. In Africa. Having knowledge about the place and the culture, I was able to help her navigate the waters and being there for her when she needed me most.
Our friendship was transformed. It moved from one of association to one of dependability and loyalty. It is a clear demonstration of an African proverb that states “ndugu ni makinya” meaning it takes steps from both sides to develop a great friendship. Just like in a telephone call, if there is no response one on the other side of the line, it cannot be called a conversation. I love this family and I am glad we kept in touch with this dear family.
People cross our paths all the time. We may not know why but God always knows. You have people on your contact list. You might have met them at the park, at the library or at one of your kids’ activities. Start there. Invest in your friends and you will have a rich life. We all have something to share. I have heard it said that the graveyard is the richest place on earth because of all the unfulfilled dreams buried there. I would like to counter that and say that the earth is the richest place because of all the friends around us that could help us fulfill those dreams. People whom we will want to see prosper and happy, and they will wish the same for us. A friend loveth at all times. Be a friend.