Now for Sami’s ramblings about Jesus:
I hope all of you have experienced the blessing and richness of friendship the way God intended it. I have been sitting here thinking of the many ways God has blessed me through friends in the past week. What a beautiful treasure each one of you are! I am truly convinced that those words to the famous Michael W. Smith ballad are as sacred as anything Charles Wesley (John Wesley’s brother) wrote: “Friends are friends forever, if the Lord’s the Lord of them. And a friend will not say never, cause the welcome will not end. Though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hands we know, that a lifetime’s not too long, to live as friends.” In my lifetime I have had plenty of opportunity for friendships to come and go; the ones that stay and that remain life giving are the ones that are infused with the very presence of Christ. You see, my friends are the very presence of Jesus for me. I can get so lost in the scariness of real life sometimes. My fears get the best of me. My faith gets weak. But God always manages to send the sweetest messages through the sweetest messengers: true friends.
They are, as individuals, quite different from each other. Some I have known most of my life (boy, the stories my youth group friend could tell on me!); some I have known less than a year. Some are so very similar to me in so many ways; some are so different in just as many. But each one of them bring a unique perspective of God’s truth and love to my life. Sometimes when I am too weak to find Jesus on my own, they are the ones who each have a corner of the blanket, and they are hauling me to him. Most of them don’t even realize what service they are accomplishing. They just grab a corner and go, because it just seems like the right thing to do.
It can be so easy to get hung up on ministry as being a minister’s thing, something that only paid professionals can really do (and do well). The truth is that ministry happens any moment we allow ourselves to be the empty vessels God can fill up and pour out. Usually it is something as mundane as a telephone call of catching up. Usually the greatest acts of ministry are so insignificant in terms of worldly appraisal that we barely register them on our spiritual radars. That is because great ministry is really great love expressed in simple and everyday ways: listening, supporting, laughing with, crying for, hoping and helping. As one of my dear friends will often say: “The process is love; don’t hinder the process.”
My question to you is this: Who are your true friends? When was the last time you sat down and really understood the depth of riches you have through your friends? Are the people you surround yourself with in life the kind of people who give you a glimpse into the life of Christ? If not, why not? And also, are you allowing God to make you into the kind of friend that Jesus shines through? Friendship, the true, deep, and lasting kind may just be the way that Jesus intends to redeem the world. Friendship may just be the one thing that can persuade the broken-hearted lost sheep to give the Good Shepherd a chance.
I feel so blessed and honored to be one of your spiritual friends, that every week you choose to walk the spiritual path with me. I know you don’t have to read these silly e-mails, but so many of you do. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you. I pray that in the mist of the messes (the ones I get myself in) and miracles (the ones God’s grace allows) that God’s love will reach through this information super-highway and warm your heart. You are His precious treasure, His cherished child. Just know that about yourself and see how this perspective changes everything. You are so special.