“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV
When I radically gave my life to the Lord my freshman year of college, there was one thing that I gravitated to that helped me in my new walk. Music! One of the first things I did was change the music I was listening to at the time to something a little more edifying to the soul. That was a challenge. Christian music was nowhere near where it is today. (Check out the link to what some of the choices in Christian music looked and sounded like in my journey. Jesus is a friend of mine, but that music... wow!) Someone introduced me to the music of Michael W. Smith. He performed a song that was the anthem of every Christian break up or parting of ways in the youth group called “Friends”. It wasn’t a happy song. No, this is a song you listened to when you had to move away to a new town, and you had to say goodbye to your friends. It was a song that made you cry for crying out loud. But no matter, it did speak of the importance of friendships.
Life is made of friendships or so it should be. Marriage is intimate friendship and so is family. A local church exists because people have decided to partner together in relationship to advance the Kingdom of God in their community. This is why the pandemic has been so hard on people. We are wired for relationship! The other day we had a snowstorm blow through. It dumped a lot of snow in the afternoon. When the snow comes like that, our staff gets our boots and coats on and we hit the community to help clear driveways and walks. While clearing the drive of a lady in our neighborhood, she asked where we were from. When we stated that we were from the church nearby, she shared that she has not been able to be with her church family for almost a year due to the shutdowns. She talked about how much she missed her church and that our impromptu snow shoveling encouraged her to take a step of faith and get back to where her friendships in Christ are. People need people! They also need their driveways cleared.
As believers, our lives should be full of relationships that are life giving. The Lord knows there is enough negative news and negative people to suck life out of us. But the most important relationship we can be in is our relationship and our friendship with Jesus. This is the bond that all other relationships should flow from. Our relationship with Jesus should supersede anything we do in ministry, marriage, and family. The snow shoveling brigade didn’t happen because we love to shovel snow. No Way! We do it because years ago Jesus taught us how to love our community, our widows and neighbors. It is our expression of love and thoughtfulness flowing from Jesus within us.
When Michael W. Smith sang “friends are friends forever, if the Lord is Lord of them” he wasn’t kidding. Check out what Jesus says in our text today. We are not just servants who are waiting for commands to follow. Instead, we are friends with Jesus. A servant does not have a close relationship with their master. They simply do what they are told without understanding the mind/ thinking behind the task. Sure, things get done, but the relationship is not life giving nor is it informative. Jesus calls us friends because He lets us in on what God is doing. Jesus goes on to remind them later that it wasn’t the disciples who picked Jesus, but the other way around. Do you remember when you stood in line and the team captains or the popular people, chose who was going to be on their team? We all raised our hands yelling, “Pick me!” The disciples didn’t have to do that. Jesus found them where they were and said, come follow me and be my friend. (Or something like that.)
Jesus did the same for you. He chose you to be his friend. He desires to build your friendship everyday as you get to know him better through His word. The Holy Spirit is in you to reveal the Lord and His heart for you. As you foster this relationship, you get in on the inside track. You hear what God wants to do and sense His call on your life to do big things. Jesus is your friend. As you put this relationship first, it will be the life source for all others. He will also help you find good music.