Posts Tagged ‘Friendship Day’

What do you consider the greatest of all your blessings? Surely at the top of the list would be a personal relationship with Jesus and (hopefully!) your family.

But according to French author, Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680):



Some time ago, a group of people decided that friends were such a blessed part of life, they wanted a day set aside specifically to celebrate these relationships. In 1935, Congress proclaimed National Friendship Day. The observation occurs on the first Sunday of August. That’s this Sunday, the seventh.

Friends do fill our lives with delightful blessings: the beauty of companionship, the joy of sharing experiences and like interests, the warmth of heart-to-heart communication, and the grace of acceptance in spite of faults.

Those friends who share our faith in Jesus provide even more benefits.

They push us nearer to God by their example, their encouragement, and their prayers for us. When trouble assaults, they remind us of scriptural truth, God’s attributes, and his provision in the past.

Christian friends are “Jesus with skin on.” (That phrase in quotes comes from a pastor in our past who used it frequently.) Isn’t that a delightful way to describe our ministry to one another? His Spirit works through us providing the encouragement, help, and care we all need.

I also appreciate a Native American translation of the word, friend: “the one who carries my sorrows on his back.” That’s a true friend—the one who comes alongside to empathize, assist, and pray.

My heart is warmed as I remember such friends (and family members who were and are like friends), each of whom have played various roles in my life: companion, listener, encourager, advisor, confidence-builder, mentor, role model of behavior, wisdom-bestower, heartache-easer, prayer warrior. These special people have contributed invaluably to my life story and who I am.

Some of my dear friends (including those with family ties) are reading these words right now. And “I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:6), not just on Friendship Day.

You are the charming gardeners who have made my soul blossom (Marcel Proust). I am so very grateful for the abundant happiness and joy you all have brought into my life.

But these friendships of faith would not be possible without our most precious Friend of all: Jesus (John 15:15).

Because of his love poured out in our hearts, we can love each other.

Because he is our refuge, joy, and hope, we can offer the same.

As we allow his influence to transform us, we are able to reflect that same influence into the lives of our friends. His attributes such as wisdom, understanding, patience, kindness, and goodness, become part of our responses with others.

Best of all, because of our friendship with Jesus, our human “friendships begun in this world will be taken up again, never to be broken off” (Francis de Sales).

How glorious is that?!
(Photo credit:  www.flickr.com.)

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“A friend is someone who

reaches for your hand,

but touches your heart.”

–Kathleen Grove

Yesterday was Friendship Day, an annual observance on the first Sunday of August.  It’s a day that doesn’t get much press, even though most folks would agree that good friends are one of life’s greatest gifts.

Steve and I have been blessed over the years with many good friends whose company we greatly enjoy. We’ve shared experiences and meals, laughter and tears. We’ve celebrated each other’s joys and supported one another through challenges.

These folks have touched our hearts by exemplifying God-enhanced friendship that’s rooted in a commitment to him first of all, and scripture-principles like the following.

Kindness (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

G. and A. are two of the most thoughtful, giving people you’ll ever meet. Just one small example of their thoughtfulness: when they accompanied the youth of our church to glean corn for an inner city ministry, they’d always stop at our house on the way home to drop off a dozen ears or so.

Honor (Romans 12:10)

We were new in town when C.S. befriended me. For our first get-together, she planned a Girls’ Day Out, taking me for a walk in a forest preserve and then treating me to lunch.

Concern (1 Corinthians 12:25)

One winter Steve and I were both sidelined by illness at the same time. B.H. made us a divine chicken soup. Seriously—the angels of heaven would be hard-pressed to improve on her recipe!

Help (1 Corinthians 12:26)

M.K. was one of few who knew about a difficult situation in my life. She suggested we do a Bible study together—just the two of us. Her prayerful support was invaluable.

Encouragement (Romans 15:2)

All of you who read this blog and leave your comments create such uplift for my spirit. Thank you!

Prayer (Ephesians 6:18)

N.S. has faithfully prayed for us for years. She provided faithful support during Steve’s forty years of ministry, and no doubt continues to pray for us still.

Faithfulness (Proverbs 18:24)

Some friends come and go for a season. Some friendships last a very long time. M. and L. belong in the latter category—faithful friends for over thirty years. Along with their loyalty, they’ve expressed all the traits mentioned above and below as well.

We’ve also been blessed with three children who have become friends as they’ve reached adulthood. Traits of Christian friendship are evident in their lives, too.

Cooperation (1 Corinthians 3:9)

The summer before his senior year of high school, our younger son, Jeremy, and I taught Vacation Bible School together. One of the other teachers commented on how well we worked as a team. That was to Jeremy’s credit—his willingness to be collaborative, not combative (like some teens that age).

Support (Galatians 6:2)

Our daughter, Heather, joined me in Austin, TX when my mother suffered a stroke. Her sweet presence was a comfort, her help, priceless.

Goodness (Ephesians 4:32)

Our older son, Eric, oversaw the renovations to our current home while Steve completed his last year of ministry 900+ miles away. No one could have paid more attention to detail.

Commitment (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)

My best friend is Steve, who has loved, cared, helped, and given for forty-five years. Through his consistent, ongoing determination, he has made our home a place of joy and contentment.

These dear friends and many more have indeed touched my heart, day by day, year after year.

“I awoke this morning with

devout thanksgiving for my friends,

the old and the new.

Shall I not call God the Beautiful,

who daily showeth Himself so to me

with His gifts?”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Surely you, too, treasure friends who demonstrate certain admirable traits. Tell us about them in the comments below!

(Photo credit:  www.sayquotable.com.)

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