May 26, 2021
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.
Take a moment and think of your closest friends. What makes them your friend? Do you share interests or hobbies? Maybe you have the same sense of humor. Perhaps they are always ready to offer a helping hand or listening ear. Maybe it’s all of those things combined. Jesus’s definition of friendship is a little bit different than all of these examples, though. And more specifically, it differs by the direction the relationship flows.
Jesus describes his friends as those he has given to, while we often define our friends as those who give to us. It’s similar to Jesus’s description of being neighborly in Luke 10 – the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus explains that a neighbor is defined by what they give – not by what they receive. Now please understand, Jesus didn’t give his knowledge and friendship away indiscriminately. Clearly he trusted the people around him, and they had probably proven their faithfulness through the years of life together.
But still, Jesus didn’t say, “You are my friends because you have proven yourselves reliable, committed, and generous.” Instead he said, “You are my friends because I’ve chosen to be vulnerable and pour my knowledge into you. You are my friends because I’ve told you about my Father – as unbelievable as it might sound.” Jesus demonstrated that giving, not receiving, defines a friendship.
In other words, the best way to make friends is to be a friend.
The question for you today, if you want more friends or better neighbors, is this: how are you being a friend and neighbor to those around you? Are you giving without expecting anything in return? Are you choosing to be vulnerable and open? Are you initiating conversations and opportunities to connect? Those are the things Jesus demonstrated. Those are the ways he defines friendship.
Here’s a follow up question. What makes you hesitant to reach out and be a friend? Are you afraid of rejection? Are you tired and in need? Start your prayers today by asking God to give you the strength you need. Follow up by asking for opportunities to give. That’s a prayer God is almost certain to answer.