Friday, September 12, 2014
"You’ve Got a Friend"
Most preachers are scavengers when it comes to finding fodder for their homiletical grist mill. I guess that is why I have a large collection of tattered and wrinkled newspaper clippings that I have hoarded over the years. I read something and say, “Now that will preach.” Some clippings make it into a sermon and some just turn yellow and fade.
As I was going through my “sermon idea” box this summer, I came across a little scrap of paper that was from 1980. Wow, that’s a long time to keep anything! I wondered why I bothered to keep it after all those years. What could be so special or unique that I saved it?
It was an obituary. It was not of anyone I knew, not a family member, relative, or anyone of any note. It was a simple two line obituary. The first line had the person’s name, dates of birth and death, and where the funeral would be held. It was the second line that explained why I saved it all these years. It simply said, “Survived by a friend.” That was it, just “Survived by a friend." It didn’t even give the friend’s name.
I wonder, did the friend write the obituary, mourning the friend he so loved? Or was the friendship so obvious and important that another writer felt compelled to mention it? To some it might seem as though this person died without much, only a friend. But maybe that was what he truly needed in life, a good friend to the very end.
I also wondered then, as I do now, if that nameless friend ever realized how important they were to that person. I wonder if we ever fully realize how important we might be to someone. Years ago I heard a preacher say, “Always remember, to someone, you are the most important person in the world.” Sometimes that means being a good friend. I have been blessed over the years to have those kinds of amazing friends, friends who know all about me and still want to be my friend.
The Bible says some tall things about friendship, and nothing more amazing than when Jesus says, “You are my friends”. Imagine, the Son of God calls you his friend! Like every good friend, he sees the best in us and the worse in us, and still he smiles at us and loves us! Even as I write this, I find myself humming, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.
Think on these ideas a minute. What kind of friend am I? Am I the friend who supports the other without regard to myself? Am I the friend who dares to let those most important to me know how meaningful they are?