I keep a coin in my pocket. It’s a large silver coin, that’s worth about $23.00 last time I checked. It’s not the silver that makes the coin valuable; it’s what it reminds me of that makes it a treasure. It was a gift from a friend whom I have learned to admire and respect in the last 15 years. He and I have shared many experiences together: marriages, babies, turmoil with teenage kids, deaths of parents, construction, physical labor, and some long highway adventures. I would consider this man one of my closest friends, yet what’s amazing is that we only see each other for about 7 or 8 days every year, if that. We only talk by email or phone about once a month.
How could a friendship not only survive but thrive with so little interaction? Because of the bond of Christian brotherhood; the Holy Spirit orchestrated events such that our lives are now wound tightly together.
He is Gaby Glory, a man who believes strongly in the power of God and the power of good. He works as hard as any man I’ve ever met, serving in his church and extending grace to less fortunate people in his community. I was introduced to Gaby when our congregation assisted with the construction of Shalom Church in Mérida México. Gaby was the contact and guide for our short-term mission team. He took care of all the logistics: housing, food, work projects, etc. When I began leading teams myself, Gaby continued to be my contact. One thing led to another and because of our experiences, our relationship blossomed and grew.
Gaby is not the only person with whom God has allowed me to develop this type of relationship. I have other friends in my church, work, and distant places here in the US and abroad who are bound to my heart in a similar fashion because at some point in the past God saw fit to cross our paths. We are now inseparable because of the connection that we have in Christ. More than likely, you have Christian friends you can relate to the same way.
John 17:11 (NIV)
11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
The bond between a mother and her child is said to be the closest relationship on earth, maybe even closer than that of a marriage. God gave us those relationships to teach us about the role of the church.
In the verse above, Jesus is praying. His request was that we, the church, would be one as he and the Father are one. What does this mean? That the church would have people with like minds who think and act for the benefit of their friends. That they would love and encourage each other in close, trusting relationships through tears of joy and sadness.
There is something about the “fellowship of the saints” that brings people together like no other bond. All people are capable of developing close relationships; but only in Christ do you posses the Holy Spirit, the glue that holds you together in such an inexplicable way.
Occasionally, when I am standing at a cash register and pull out some change to pay, the cashier will see the coin in my hand and ask, “Wow, what is that?”
It gives me an opportunity to explain ………
Mugs up! Thank God for the incredible friends you have; it wasn’t by chance that they found their way into your life.