Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Friends: We All Need Them

1 Corinthians 12:26

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

fullsizeoutput_ffeI’ve been spending some time lately reading (mostly online and on my iPad). I’ve read the following: The Bible – some books (like Nick Vujicic’s Unstoppable) – some sports news (as we are in the early stages of the NBA and College Basketball season) – and the Facebook entries of some of my friends. One thing I’ve noticed in many of these venues is the importance of family – connections – and teamwork. One of my Facebook friends puts pictures and posts up – almost hourly it seems – thanking God for their children – their spouse – and where they work. I believe that our family and close friends impact our lives – for the better or for the worst.

Family and other connections are so very important to our health and well-being. One only needs to read the stories of some who have gone astray to realize that many of them had a giant fail in their family connections. Nick Vujicic – born without arms or legs – praises his parents for showing him unconditional love and attention. He credits this support for much of his ability to struggle through the challenges of life he faced and become a motivational speaker and evangelist.

Family and friends – real friends – are what most successful people point to – that and a deep abiding relationship with Jesus of course! What relationships can you point to in your life’s story? Who was instrumental in your development? Was there a special teacher – a special friend – a sibling – a fellow church member – a pastor – your parents?

In writing about the church – Paul writes – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. The church is supposed to be both family and a familiar place for the members of the Body of Christ. In my church life – I have heard folks from out-of-town talk about their church as a family. I have experienced this family feeling at times myself. I remember an older man at Mt. Zion who became a father figure for my father (his died while serving that same church) and a grandfather to us. When I returned some 18 years after we left to be the pastor of that church – this same man was in the last years of his life and still made me feel like family. Family and friends can make such a huge impact on our lives.

I’ve also experienced – and heard stories from others – about fake or pretend friends in the church as well as outside the church. Fake or pretend friends are people who appear to be your friends while a certain relationship exists but drop out when that relationship changes. Usually it is a relationship that is based on what they can get from you or a position you hold. Beware of these types of friends. Pastors – for instance – have a hard time maintaining friendships after they move to a different church. In our denomination – we are all but required to divorce ourselves from our previous church so that the next pastor can develop relationships. It makes it hard to develop friendships – since many pastors dive into their church work and the social life of the church and community they serve. It is hard to find time outside of church for pastors to make friends – especially when connecting as family is what the church is supposed to be all about according to Paul.

But throughout life – whatever you do professionally – the hope and prayer is that you begin to experience true friendships. True friends – whether family or not – are a blessing. True friends will hurt when you hurt and rejoice when you rejoice as Paul wrote in today’s passage about the church – If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. My hope and prayer will be that your family and your friends are these types of relationships and not the kind that are surface only and change depending on the circumstances. I know my family and my close friends have been very impactful in my life.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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November 16, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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