The phone rings, the answering machine responds, I hear my beloved friend’s voice, but I know that she is not at home. You see, I am calling to inquire about her physical condition that prompted her admission to the hospital several days prior to the new year. The fact that her husband is not answering the phone tells me that he is probably still at her bedside. Having experienced a reaction to her most recent chemotherapy treatment, she is in an unconscious state. Memories flood my mind as I recall her kindness as a friend—always urging me to reach my full professional potential, investing her own time and resources to assist in my success, offering advice and counsel, editing my writing endeavors, telling me the truth when content needed to be revised, and simply having fun together are a portion of the qualities that comprise our friendship collage. Once again I pondered —was I careful to express my gratitude and thanks for her faithfulness that spanned some thirty years? Dear Lord, I prayed, if it would please You, provide me with the opportunity to allow me to communicate to Barbara how much I treasure her friendship. The days pass, and then one evening her husband does answer the phone with the blessed report that, “our Barbara is back with us again!” As I offer my heartfelt thanks to my heavenly Father, I am also motivated to make certain that I communicate to her regularly the depth and breadth of our relationship!
One of the classic descriptions of friendship recorded in Scripture is that of Jonathan and David (1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19, 20, 23:16, 2 Samuel 1:17). Let’s consider some of the qualities of their relationship that provide a role model for us:
- Friendship requires initiation (18:1); in our twenty-first century society; too many friendships are based on surface attributes and selfish ambitions. Jonathan’s initiation of his friendship with David reflects a willingness to cross social barriers and personal agendas to develop a genuine relationship.
- Friendship involves sacrifice (18:4, 23:16-17)—unselfishness is always necessary to practice true friendship. Each individual must be willing to give up something treasured; in Jonathan’s case, he willingly surrendered his rightful position as king.
- Friendship promotes the best interests of the other. Jeopardizing his own safety and relationship with his father, Jonathan sought to alert David to potential danger (19:1-2), defend him, and cultivate a spirit of reconciliation between Saul and David (19:3-7).
- Friendship is willing to take the brunt of another person's circumstances
Every person needs someone to "go to the wall for her," and, against insurmountable odds, Jonathan did “go to the wall” for David. Second Samuel 1:26 clearly describes that David’s love for Jonathan was reciprocated. Writing on their relationship, John MacArthur shares, “A deep concern and affection was the basis of the covenantal relationship between Jonathan and David. This is the affection commanded by God when He said, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”[i]
Your friends should sense a spirit of trust and confidence in the shared relationship. As a friend, when I consider the characteristics of trust and confidence that I should manifest I am reminded that Elizabeth’s life[i] (Luke 1:39-56) serves as the type of model I desire to follow. Let’s take a look at what her life teaches us about trustworthiness and confidence as we see how she responded to her friend, Mary, who was experiencing personal challenges:
- Mary had confidence that she would be welcome in Elizabeth’s home—Mary had no way of alerting Elizabeth of her intention to come for an extended visit (Luke 1: 39-40).
- Mary chose to share freely her situation with Elizabeth, a relative, as well as an older woman; this action suggests that Mary trusted Elizabeth to believe the best rather than the worse about her (Luke 1:40).
- Elizabeth waited for Mary to share the reason for her visit rather than immediately interrogating her (Luke 1:40b-41) or preempting the situation by sharing her good news.
- Elizabeth was a clean vessel that the Holy Spirit could use to affirm the Lord’s work in Mary’s life (Luke 1:41).
Friendship is one of the most precious of God’s gifts to us. May I encourage you to evaluate your friendships and discern how you are nurturing them? Perhaps you will consider studying scriptures that relate to friendships: 1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-7, 2 Samuel 1:26, 20:24-33; Proverbs 17:17; Luke 1:39-56; Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14. Remember that precious in the sight of God is the woman who nurtures her friendships—one of His most precious gifts to her (John 15:13).
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (John 15:16).
Therefore, I may boldly say, “I am God’s responsibility.”
If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on Contact Pat to request your copy.
As well, you might enjoy attending the “Building a Culture of Biblical Femininity in the Home, Church and Community” Conference on the Southwestern campus October 1-3. Visit www.RockCreekBC.org for more information.
[i] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville: Word: 1997), note at 1 Samuel 20:17.