A Friend Loves At All Times
By Millie Brown
I have a dear friend that I love very much. We met at women’s bible study, and she is my sister in Christ. We laugh together, cry together, share our secrets and advise each other on all matters. Whenever we get together we are left feeling blessed with each other’s friendship. I thank God for bringing her into my life. One thing I should tell you about her is, she almost never calls me. She is never the one to invite me somewhere or think of a place to go. I didn’t call her for a week once, just to see if she would miss me and call – but she didn’t. When I couldn’t stand not talking to her anymore, I called her. I was received with overwhelming joy because she missed me so much. There were times I questioned whether she really cared for me as much as I did her and if she valued my friendship. That is, until I met a wise man.
In Palm Springs, there is a street fair on Thursday evenings, and at that fair there is an advice booth. I stood by the booth for a long time listening to other people’s questions, and when I was satisfied that the gentleman answering was a godly man full of wisdom, I decided to take a turn.
My question was, “What does it mean to be a good friend?” He paused and pondered for a minute, then responded by saying, “Most people think of friendship as something reciprocal.”
“That is incorrect,” he said. “Friendship is about giving.”
“Feeling good about it, and sometimes getting something back from it is one thing, but at its purist, friendship is about giving to someone in a manner that causes them to be uplifted. Friendship should not be weighed with a balancing scale. After all, what you do and how you act is not just between you and your friend, but also between you and God.”
I contemplated the man’s words on the long ride home. I realized how wrong I was about this friendship. The moment I decided to test my friendship by not calling, it was I who was not behaving like a good friend.
“A friend loves at all times” Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
I wasn’t loving my friend – I was focusing on my own needs. I thought of Jesus. He demonstrated that Christian friendship and love was about the sacrificial building up of one another. We are reminded of this in John 15:13 (NIV),“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
I gave up my desires and expectations of this friend and focused on loving her instead. In this, I have truly received the greater gift.