Wednesday Devotional: Cultivating Friendships
Ecclesiastes 4: 10
I live in a large metropolitan area that experienced severe flooding over the last few days. Fortunately for our family, the flooding was well to the south. We received a good amount of gentle rain, not the torrent that caused havoc elsewhere.
What was gratifying is how many people that I know from around the country began checking in on how we were doing. (Maybe we should have marked ourselves "Safe" on Facebook, but I didn't even think of that). When our friends and family saw the video clips on the news, they were worried that we were affected. My son called me when I was driving and then scolded me for driving in a flood! Well, I wasn't in a flood!
Still, I'm grateful for all the love and concern. It reminds me of how important our relationships are.
When I was driving, I was returning from a speech by a former NFL coach given to the men at our church. At one point, he talked about relationships and how important it is to have friends you can count on. He asked us to think about who our friends are and if we have sufficiently cultivated those relationships.
As the coach continued to speak, I reflected on this. I realized that in that very room were men who represented some of my closest friends. I could think of a man that is one of the most reliable friends I have. Another is someone that I disagree with on several points, but we have worked side by side to serve others, and I consider him my Christian brother, now and always. Another has been an encourager to my ministry and to me personally, and now he is at a point in life where he needs my encouragement. And there were others in the room important to me, with various histories of helping each other.
That mental review echoed Ecclesiastes 4: 10:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
But I also considered how it's easy to take relationships for granted. When we think of love relationships, we realize how important it is to be attentive, to keep them fresh. Friend and family relationships are no different. Look, I have 881 friends on Facebook. It is impossible for me to keep all of those relationships equally fresh. But I can pick some to focus on the most, others to focus on to a lesser degree, and so forth, like a pyramid of friendship.
This is not a self-serving topic. God built us for relationship. He is in relationship with us, and we are to be in relationship with others. Our Christian context is that friends are important for getting through life and helping each other when we fall.
Today, consider who your friends are, and thank God for the gift of friends. Then cultivate those friendships into lasting, trusting, vulnerable relationships.