I Want To Be A Friend! Derl G. Keefer September 1, 2003 Second Sunday of Advent (C), December 7, 2003 I Want to be a Friend! Philippians 1:3-11 It really doesn’t matter what Personality Inventory test I take. I come out being friendly and needing friends. My wife tells me I never meet a stranger. I gather energy when I’m around people. Friendships affect my feelings and the way I look at life. I thrive on frequent encounters, productive exchanges, shared ideas. E. J. Morgan wrote a verse found in God’s Little Devotional Book II. In part it reads: “I would rather walk with you awhile Today in some friendly mode, Than to wait until tomorrow comes To drive along the road. I’d rather be the present friend In every gentle way, So let us make the most of it While it is called today.” Nurturing friendships today help us to keep those friendships for life. St. Paul grasped that truth when he wrote a letter to his friends in Philippi centuries ago. He said, “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Phil. 1:3 NIV). In Philip-pians 1:3-11, friendship flows out of the page. The secrets to learning how to develop friendships spans time. Secret 1 to developing friendship: be there. The writer of Proverbs states, “Your own friend and your father’s friend, forsake them not . . . Better is a neighbor who is near (in spirit) than a brother who is far off (in heart)” Proverbs 27:10 AMP. I need to be a “present friend” who is there when I’m needed to work alongside, listen when my friend is hurting, laugh with them, be a light in their darkest hours and just “be” for them. Miles may separate friends but their spirit brings them together. Stay glued together beyond the distance through e-mails, snail mail, telephone conversations, and the “occasional” visits. The greatest bonding comes through prayer when we are separated. Paul indicates in Philippians 1:3-4 that praying for your friends – thanking God for them, interceding on their behalf, asking God’s blessing on the fellowship – is just a natural part of friendship. Who prays for you? Thank God for them. They are present with you more than some folks who are talking to you bodily today! Secret 2 to developing friendships: be gracious. The idea of being gracious is actively showing loving kindness to others. We simply help put a smile on a friend’s face, or delight to the heart, or step in to bring beauty in ugly situations. We live in a cold and often cruel world that leaves us empty and alone, but a friend understands and asks us to come and sit for a while by the fireplace they call time. F.W. Faber is credited with two thoughts on kindness that speak to my heart: “Kind words are the music of the world.” And “Kindness has converted more sinners than either zeal, eloquence, or learning.” Secret 3 to developing friendship: be honest. The apostle puts it this way: “be unsullied and blameless in relation to anyone’s stumbling.” (Philippians 1:10, Berkeley Version). As friendships develop and mature, honesty grows more important. Trust broken never recovers. That’s why it is important that we plant the seed of honesty and trust at the beginning of any relationship and allow it to grow. Honesty may allow us to disagree agreeably and to be discrete in our thinking, but it does not allow us to lie to the other person. Honesty is like what Jesus said about Nathaniel, “transparent” (see John 1:47). Our deep relationships should so be transparent that anyone can see right through us to know what we are thinking, observe how we act, and believe what we say. That’s pure honesty – and a pure heart. I hope you can find a friend that sticks close like a brother or sister. Everyone needs a friend. Remember also that you’ve got a friend in Jesus! __________ Sermon brief provided by Derl G. Keefer, Adult Ministries Coordinator, Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.