FRIENDSHIP READY

When you’re hungry and need something quick, there’s the drive-thru at the Jack in the Box that’s ready to satisfy your hunger.  But when it comes to needing a friend “instant relationships” just don’t happen.  I estimate that’s why Jesus spent three solid years with his disciples.  It was through that investment of time that the disciples were able to see real love in action, to gain faith in who Jesus was, and to build trust in Jesus’ promises for the future.

Unlike some parents, most of today’s teenagers place a high value on relationships.  Christian researcher George Barna says this need for relationships is a reaction to the “poverty of emotional connections many of these kids had while they were growing up.” He continues by saying that the young people who make up our youth groups “tend to be raised in a more isolated environment due to divorce, household transience, their own diminished communication skills, and the dissolution of neighborhoods.” Nearly half of all teenagers and young adults say they wish they had more close personal friends (not FB friends).

I know that I need to get better at building relationships.  The church must as well. Do we give the best opportunity for people to grow in their relationships with God and with each other? Barna says, “By helping people discover a biblical perspective on relationships, we help them experience the real emotional sharing, openness, and love that God can bring.” Nothing can substitute for a real relationship with God.

Imagine if Jesus had said to Peter, “Well, Pete, we’ve been together for six full weeks, and you still haven’t got it. That’s it. I give up. I think I’ll start spending more time with John instead of you.” Instead, Jesus, despite Peter’s failures, continued to foster in him the potential that he would develop into (John 21:15ff).
 
So let’s renew and build relationships. Send a letter, email or text to a friend. Take that friend to dinner. Thank God for His unconditional love and spend some time developing friendships for Christ. Let’s be friendship ready!

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