Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Value of a Friend

We used to do puzzles a lot when my children were home. Every Christmas vacation we would go to the store and pick out a big puzzle. We would bring it home, pull out the card table and work on it in our spare time between decorating, baking and shopping for the holidays. I remember some wonderful times around the puzzle table. We would always start with the outside edges, you know, the pieces with one flat edge. Then we would tackle the pieces that had bumps and cut outs on every side….these pieces were the challenge.

Proverbs 17:17 (NLT) 
A friend is always loyal…

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. The winning definition read:
"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."

Friendship is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each bump on a puzzle piece is one’s strength, and each hole or cut out is her weakness. We all have our share of weaknesses and strengths. Because of friendship, other puzzle pieces fill up the gap that is our weaknesses. And sometimes we, ourselves, fill the gap of the other with our own strengths. And together, we create a bigger picture, a bigger picture that can only be revealed when we share with others our strengths and weaknesses. Isko P. Lipino

Pooh's Philosophy on Friendship

“I wonder what Piglet is doing,” thought Pooh. “I wish I were there to be doing it, too.”
“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.
“Some people care too much. I think it's called love.”
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” 

Proverbs 27:9 (The Message)
 …A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

Close Friends Fit

If you have ever worked a puzzle you know that all the puzzle pieces do not fit each other. They are not all interchangeable. How boring would that be? There are a lot of people you will come in contact with during your lifetime. But not all of them will be close to you. We may have a lot of friends. Some tall, some short, some fluffy and some thin; some outgoing, some shy, and some bossy. Each one is different. But we are closer to those who fill the gap in our weakness.  Some people may rub you the wrong way, maybe the bumps just clash with your bumps. That is okay….you won’t be close to everyone. Sometimes we may try to be friends with a person and when we get to know them we find that their bumps get in the way and we just cannot be close. We are too much alike. Just because we cannot be close to someone does not mean she is a bad person; it just means she will fit closer to another person in this great big picture that God is putting together.

Friendship takes time and patience:

Sometimes you know a piece is a perfect fit, but you try to put it in and it doesn’t seem to go. You turn it and try again. Sometimes it takes a lot of time but you keep trying and finally it slips in effortlessly. Some people take time to cultivate a friendship with. You have to work through some difficulties, but you know that it will fit if you just give the relationship some time. Patience is rewarded when the connection is made and you both realize how valuable you are to each other, and to the bigger picture. You are so glad she didn’t give up on you. And she is glad you didn’t give up on her. How many wonderful memories and lifetime friends are missed because someone got impatient and gave up “working” on a relationship.

Sometimes it seems the pieces will never come together and there are gaps in our relationships….that is where God’s help comes in. When we cry out to God to help us in our relationships, he can reveal things in our life that we can change to make the necessary changes that will help the relationship along. We cannot change other people, but good changes in us can bring about good changes in others.

Friendship must be found:

Have you ever looked and looked for a missing piece of a puzzle? I’ve actually reduced myself to crawling on my hands and knees, under the table to see if it has fallen because I cannot find it in the obvious place, the top of the table. Suddenly when I’ve given up and start looking for another piece, back up on the table, there it is…..right in front of my face! The piece I’ve been looking for. How could I have missed it?

God reveals that missing link. Just when we think the effort is not worth it and we move to another person, something clicks and suddenly we realize that we have connected! Ahh….that feels sooo good!

Are you lonely? Do you feel you have not connected to anyone yet? Do you have difficulty making friends? To have friends you must make yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). It may not be easy, buy if you really want to have a friend, you have to be proactive in the search. When you are at a church function, find someone alone and make yourself go over and get acquainted. They are probably lonely too. It's okay to rehearse what you will say at first. Usually, after a few questions like, "How are you?" or "What do you think of the food table." you will find the barrier begin to break and you will find yourself in the middle of a conversation. Make yourself talk to someone even if they don’t talk to you. Send a card or a text to someone you want to say something to. Reach out and find a friend. You do the reaching and many times the person you are reaching for will be forever grateful for their "hero" who saved them from an evening of alone-ness.

Friends see God’s bigger picture:

As the puzzle gets near completion, excitement begins to boil. We huddle around the now almost finished puzzle hoping to be the one that finds the final piece. Now we can see what the picture is; even though the puzzle is still missing a few pieces but we are not happy until that last piece is in place. 

The bigger picture is the plan God has for us. We are all a part of his creation. If one piece is missing, it ruins the big picture. The friends closest to you are very valuable to your success as a Christian. We must pray for each other and lift each other up because we are valuable to each other. Sometimes we may need to lovingly tell a friend that they are involved in something that would be harmful to their walk with God. That is a true friend.

Proverbs 27:6  
Faithful are the wounds of a friend…

Here are some of the things that make up a valuable friend. Do you meet the criteria? Do you see some of your friends here?

A Valuable Friend:
 V- Values time with me
 A- Accepts me as I am
 L- Loves me
 U- Understands my moods
 A- Allows me to make mistakes
 B- Believes in me
 L- Laughs with me and is Loyal
 E- Expects nothing in return

Faithful friends:
 F- Faithful and consistent/forgiving
 R- Respects me
 I- Includes others in our friendship/not possessive
 E- Encourages me and prays for me
 N- Never puts me down
 D- Deserves my best
 S- Someone I can count on

Our best friend is Jesus, but He knows we need each other. I am reminded of the little boy who was afraid of thunder and lightning. One night, as he was sleeping, a violent storm blistered the skies. He awoke, terrified, and ran into his parents' bedroom crying. His mother tried to calm him. "Jimmy, I told you God loves you and is with you. Don't ever be afraid. You are never alone." Jimmy replied, "I know, Mommy, that God loves me and listens to my prayers. But sometimes I need someone with skin!"
Jesus put a value on friendship when he said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus had close friends. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He dined at Mary, Martha and Lazarus's house. He calls us friends. He said in "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (
John 15:15). 

In the beginning when God created the universe, He said it was good after every part of His creation, until he made man. Then he observed Adam naming the animals, and tending the beautiful garden He made him. God stepped back and said, "It is not good -- that man be alone". He never intended for us to be alone. He created us to need each other. He created us for relationship and friendship.

"You can’t buy friends.
 Friends stay when you give them your heart." 

-Gayla Baughman

No comments: