No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
John 15:15 (ESV)
I’ve been thinking a lot about friends lately. Just last week I had lunch with a newer friend. Jim was one of the first people I met when I moved here to Nashville. We’ve enjoyed golf and a men’s breakfast group together. We talked about our lives and growing older. Today I had breakfast with a friend of over 30 years from my Shreveport days. Bob and Linda moved here for retirement as I did. Last week we traveled with a treasured group of four other couples. We’ve known each other for well over 30 years even though none of us are even from the same state. We’ve traveled around the world together, and each time we meet, we are planning our next trip. Last week I spoke to another treasured friend. Tom has been my pastor since I came to Christ, he baptized me, and was one of the officiants at our wedding. In the past few days I’ve talked with old friends from Shreveport with whom I attended a men’s prayer group for years. Collins and Nancy are moving to be with their grandchildren, just as I did. Each Friday I share a call with a friend from Sydney, Australia by way of forced emigration from Uganda 50 years ago. Ashak is a brilliant engineer, a grandfather, and a widower like me. We share our joys and our sorrows every week. And just today I received a package of inspirational books and DVDs from a new friend. David has known Debby for many years, and we’ve become friends through her.
What do all of these have in common (besides being friends)? Each of these prayed for me diligently when I was sick. Each of these blessed our wedding. And we continue to pray for each of them. Each of them is pondering life….our lives with family and friends and faith.
According to Oxford Languages, the word “friend” derives from the Old English frēond, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vriend and German Freund, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘to love.’ I wrote in my book In a Mirror Dimly, that until I came to know the Lord at an older age, I never knew that I could have friends as I have now. And now I know why.
As the Apostle John wrote, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 ESV) And we have His word that we are, indeed, His friends. Embrace His friendship and share it forward.