I walked into the room and waited for a greeting. Was anyone going to acknowledge my presence? Would anyone welcome me and tell me how glad they were to see me? Anyone?
Hello? I’ve known these people for years. These are people I work with, do life with and talk to frequently. Why didn’t anyone greet me?
In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House, “How rude!”
I was dumfounded and I couldn’t understand why all of these people who claimed to be my friend didn’t even look up from their papers and at the very least smile.
I left it alone and got right to work. But the next day was no different. There was no greeting. No acknowledgment of my presence. No smile.
After a while, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I did the unexpected. It was completely out of my comfort zone and something I never thought I’d do. I guess you might even say it was unconventional for all of us in the room that day.
I said hello first.
**Insert gasp here**
Seriously, though. Once I said hello, it was like someone announced that everyone was a getting free Starbucks drink. Heads shot up and they jolted out of their zombie-like stupor.
And it all started when I said hello first.
The Wrong Mentality
I hate that I learned this lesson so late in life. I used to wait to be noticed and if I wasn’t I thought people weren’t friendly. But the Bible tells us, “He who has friends must be friendly” (Prov 18:24).
God always speaks to us as individuals. He is always after our hearts because He is the only one who can search them. We’re constantly looking for connection and human interaction. But, God only tells us how to treat others.
When I walked into a room and waited for everyone to welcome me, I was being self-centered. God always wants us to be others-centered. Always!
Be The Friend You Want To Have
The first step to finding the right kind of friend is to be the right kind of friend. Friendships are investments and they require intentionality and diligence.
I’m very careful about who I call a friend. A friend is someone you share intimate parts of your life with. I invite my friends into my entire life and they become a part of my family. Many of my friends share holidays with me and my family. I usually elevate them to “family status”.
Because I allow people in, I have high expectations for my friendships. I have to be available for my friends, communicate with them and be there for them. In return, I expect the same from my friends.
What Do You Expect From Your Friends?
There’s a great story in the Bible about friendship and get this … it was between two men. Say, what??
David and Jonathan are the best example of friendship I’ve ever heard of, but the one who impresses me most is Jonathan. He had the most to lose.
When he met David, David was a nobody. He was a scrawny little shepherd boy who went to check on his brothers and stumbled upon a giant threatening his people. David was fearless because of the God he served and Jonathan was impressed.
Jonathan on the other hand, was the king’s son. Do you know what that means? He was next in line for the throne. But Jonathan believed in God and he knew God chose David as the next king of Israel.
Jonathan loved his friend David so much, he stepped aside and encouraged David to become the next king. David had everything to gain and Jonathan had everything to lose.
Am I a Jonathan kind of friend? Gosh, I don’t think so. And that convicts me.
God wants all of us to be a Jonathan to others. A selfless, self-sacrificing encourager who keeps our friends pursuing their God ordained calling.
Friends Are Chosen
There are some warnings God gives us about our friends. He always tells us to choose them wisely because they do influence our lives. It is often said that we are most like the five people we hang out with often.
Proverbs 12:26 tells us, “The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” Our friends either point us to Jesus or they pull us away from Him. Many times, things are either/or with God and not a gray area. Friends are one of them.
On the other hand, do we influence our friends for good? Do we point them to Jesus? I truly believe friendship is one of the things we are called to steward well. Have you ever thought of it that way?
How are you stewarding your friendships?
I want to challenge you today to be the first to step up and say hello to others. Don’t wait for someone to notice you. Notice others! That’s really what God’s word is all about.
We reap what we sow in life. Friendship is no different. When we invest in the lives of others we really do get a return in our own lives.
Evaluate your friendships. How much of an investment are you making? Do you want more friends or feel like you come up short in your relationships? What changes do you need to make in order to get what you want out of your friendships?
For more information on this topic, listen to Her Faith Inspires podcast, episode 19: “Defining friendship and why some friends come and go”.
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