Friends are like little gifts from God. Or not.
“Little gift” implies something small, inconsequential. A pack of stationary, a bracelet that is just your style, a $5 gift card to Starbucks – just enough for a pumpkin spiced latte. mmmm… Okay, maybe not entirely inconsequential. Little gifts are delightful, we’ll all agree.
But I’m talking about great big, knock-your-socks-off, here’s-a-key-go-look-in-the-driveway sized gifts. Presents with gigantic red bows!
When God created us to have relationships, he didn’t just mean man-and-wife or mother-and-baby, he gave us FRIENDS. Seriously, this was His idea! Oh so beautifully.
Your friends are beside you to laugh, cry, scream, tell you to change your shirt because you wear too many stripes, beg you not to leave because there is a snake in front of your house and you cannot move, send you a message to ask after your child. Those seemingly small, inconsequential acts that all add up. That’s friendship. That’s love.
Friendships are a reflection of the love we pour into others. You are drawn toward self-sacrificial acts for another just because she matters to you. It’s easy to pick up the phone and call a friend to ask if her interview went well, to make dinner for a friend when she isn’t feeling well and her husband is traveling, to drive hours just to share a meal with a friend. We do this, not out of obligation, but because we want to. We are created to love, created to have friendships.
And what a magnificent lesson our friendships are for us! We do for others, without thinking, only asking for their love in return. We don’t expect to be compensated in act. We pour out because our friends’ hearts matter to us. This act comes so naturally to us because we are made in the likeness of the perfect example: Jesus. He called you “friend” then laid down His life in sacrifice. He doesn’t guilt us into returning any favor or want us to write notes of thanks, just as we wouldn’t ask so much of a friend. He merely wants us to remain as close to Him as our hearts allow, to open our deepest wounds to His loving touch. And He is there. No guilt, no shame, not even a mention of the lettuce stuck between your teeth.
True friendship is non-judgmental, always cheering from the sidelines, making me laugh until my guts hurt, bringing me cups of nourishment and joy, enjoying sunny days and walking close in rainstorms, reminding me I am beautiful even when I’ve put on a few pounds, challenging me to live better because I deserve it, hugging holding cherishing uplifting on the darkest days. Each of my friends, my better-than-a-new-car friends, gives this to me. But none so much as my Truest Friend.
Thank you, good and gracious Lord for the gifts you have given. Friendships modeled after your unconditional LOVE for us and our desire to return the same to one another. You are so good. And so creative!
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command. 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.