(Sept. 5, 2019) I often forget what a blessing friends are. I focus more on the blessing of family, my wife, my children and grandchildren, on the blessings of my relationship with the Lord, but I often fail to realize the blessing that friends are to my life. I recall stories of my childhood friends, the neighborhood kids I grew up playing with, whose house I could walk into almost as casually as I’d walk into my own, the hours we’d spend playing hide and seek in the long summer evenings.
I look back on the friendships I’ve had in gospel music, the memories we’ve made and times we’ve shared that live on in the stories we tell about our experiences on the road and in hotels and restaurants all over the Northern Hemisphere and abroad, the places we’ve been privileged to visit and the wonderful people we’ve been honored to meet.
I think of friends who have walked through the trenches with me, who, when I was wounded from the battles of life, bandaged my wounds and got me to a place of healing, much like the Good Samaritan; some names you might readily recognize, some you will probably never know. But they stand along the road of my memories like monuments to mark the places where God met my needs through their generosity and caring concern.
Contemporary Christian artist Michael W. Smith’s most famous song, “Friends,” tells the story of friends who are parting, yet reminding each other that “friends are friends forever when the Lord’s the Lord of them.” Proverbs 17:17 says that a friend loves at all times, and 18:24 says there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Someone once stated that there are friends who are in our life only for a season and some who are in our life for life. But whether for life or for a season they are all in our lives for a reason! And the time we share our journey through life, whether briefly or for many years, comes with the opportunity to be a blessing.
I recently called a friend who has been relieved of a position he has held for twenty years … a man who, by any measure, is a successful godly leader. I called to let him know that I was his friend and there was nothing he could do about it. Just this morning I sent a quick email to a friend primarily to remind him that I loved him and treasured his friendship.
We have special days to honor mothers and fathers and grandparents. I don’t know if one exists but maybe we should have a day to honor friends, when we spend the day calling or emailing or visiting with the people who grace our lives with their friendship.
As you’re reading this, I can imagine there are people whose faces cross the screen of your mind and you recall their special place in your life. May I encourage you to let them know how much you treasure them. I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t enjoy being honored and made aware of how valuable they are to someone else. In fact, what if we took five minutes out of every day to do that? One call, one email, one person a day. Let’s start a movement!
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