Friday, April 13, 2012

Friends come and friends go, but Jesus remains - John 15:4 with some of the best definitions of a friend

SCRIPTURE: John 15:4 (NIV)
Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following: 

"One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable." 

"One who understands our silence." 

"A volume of sympathy bound in cloth." 

"A watch that beats true for all time and never runs down." 

The winning definition read:
"A friend is the one who comes in when the whole world has gone out."

Spring is upon us. For those of us who live in Florida it means that our winter friends are heading home. They will be missed. They leave a hole in our heart until they return. Some will return. Others, sadly, will not.

A fellow colleague once said, about the churches in Florida that are made up of mostly winter guests, “It is like serving a church of cut flowers. No roots. They are here for just a little awhile. Their presents add beauty to the church’s arrangement. But, they soon wither and are too quickly plucked from the arrangement.”

We call them friends as we do those who live full time in our communities, but are they really “friends” in the truest sense of the word? Oh, they share a portion of our journey. A meal or two is enjoyed. A card game or a round of golf is shared. A movie, exercise, long conversations over coffee, gentle walks around the park, partners in prayer … these are but a few of the activities that consume the hours of our days.

When we do get back together, and we pray that it will be sooner than later, we pick up our lives as if the summer months did not stretch between the last time we were in each other’s presence. Our life just continues as if we didn’t miss a heartbeat … and for that we are thankful.

Reality sinks in. They are friends for a season of our life. Here now. Much appreciated. They touch our lives and we are better for it. But, alas, they are all too soon gone. We are left alone.

I've found a Friend, oh, such a Friend!
He loved me ere I knew Him;
He drew me with the cords of love,
And thus He bound me to Him.
And round my heart still closely twine
Those ties which naught can sever,
For I am His, and He is mine,
Forever and forever.

Jesus remains – constant, continuous, compassionate – he is always there. He remains.

Thank you Friend for being there for us. Guide us so that we might truly remain in you. Amen.

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