"Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a great friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9
So the Lord has done it again. He has driven home a point he needed me to get by having Sunday's sermon about a topic, which is followed by Monday morning's devotion about the same topic. It's on those days when I say, "I get it, Lord," and then act accordingly. This week, God stressed the importance of friendship. Who are my friends? Who are my close friends? What kind of friend am I?
When the Preacherman began his sermon Sunday, I wasn't really sure where he was going to go with the chosen passages (Colossians 4:7-18). We have been working our way through Colossians, and the last few verses were Paul's words about a few people. I've read (okay, skimmed) these passages before, but when the Preacherman started giving a brief bio about all the men mentioned, I was thirsty for more! Most of those men were good friends of Paul, some closer to Paul than others. It was fascinating seeing little tidbits of these men throughout scripture, and I would have never put two and two together. Isn't it amazing how God allows simple information, such as someone's character, be shown just enough for us to see who they really were as people? At the end of the sermon, the Preacherman talked about important friends that have stuck by him through thick and thin. He then challenged us to think of those friends who are important to us. I can honestly say that I was starting to have a breakdown right there in church. I was looking around at all the ladies in church who were sitting next to or near their best lady friends as they gave each other tearful smiles. Where was MY lady friend? God then placed on my heart the ladies in my life who really mean the world to me. As soon as I got home, I sent some of those ladies a note letting them know how much they meant to me. I wasn't fishing for compliments, but I was sure going to give some. I just don't think that we remember to tell each other how much friends mean to us. Guys tend to say it in their own ways, but us girls just don't do it.
Then Monday morning, I was reading my daily devotion that I get emailed to me from Proverbs 31 Ministries. Some days I don't get to those devotions, and they begin to fill up my in box. So when I just happened to chose the one about friendship this past Monday morning, I was just amazed at how God gave me that little reminder that I needed make sure I am a good friend and that I let my good friends know how valuable they are to me. (Here's the link to the devotion I read, by the way.) This devotion stressed the need for us to make sure we let our friends know how much we value them.
And finally today, someone posted a link to a blog about husbands. The link went on and on about how husbands shouldn't be praised for being good husbands and dads. The writer of the blog said her husband was doing stuff he should have been doing anyway, and why doesn't she ever get praised for vacuuming or washing dishes? She made a "decent" point about how we have lowered our standards in society to the point where men get praised for helping out with the kids or going to school activities. And by decent I meant that there are enough deadbeat dads out there who don't help out. But what I DONT agree with is her stressing how husbands shouldn't be praised for doing the regular. Why shouldn't they? And if our husbands are our best friends (as my husband is my best friend), shouldn't we be recognizing all the things they do? Just like our girl friends, shouldn't we be lifting our men up as well? Yes! Yes, we should. Wouldn't you like to have someone say, "Hey! Thanks for making dinner!" or "Thank you for showing me how to make that skirt!" Absolutely!
So that's it. That's the lesson for my week. There are some days I am a great friend, but more likely than not, I'm not all that great. I get caught up in my own insecurities. I focused so many times on what is wrong in my life, that I forget to ask about what's going on in my friends' lives (or even my husband's life). They have problems, too. And they are probably wondering how much their friendships are worth to others. If I was truly a great friend, they would know. So the Lord was seriously letting me know that I need to lift others up. Stop being so selfish! Stop making it all about you!
So I challenge you to also let your friends know how much they mean to you. Pray for them, and let them know you are praying for them. Be a gift to those around you. You will find the joy in bringing joy to others.