Hello, I am Reed Grafke with www.reedgrafke.com, welcome to God Today. I would like to talk to you today about the subject of friendship. I think loneliness is maybe one of the most tragic things happening in our society. And I know so many great people that would just give anything if they had a good friend. I would just like to talk to you about friendship as it relates to the Kingdom-minded believer and how do we find friends, how do we cultivate friends. And what does friendship look like? What are the benefits of having a friend?
I was reading John 15 one day and I got to the verse in verse 15, where Jesus says to the 12 guys that he handpicked to be His successors. And He says, “From henceforth, I call you no more servants but friends.” It just jumped off the page to me that this was a transition in how He related to these men. And the next verse is critical. He says there, “As my friends, I will tell you things that I cannot share with those that just serve me.” And so, all of us, when we become believers, we want to learn how to serve God and we become good at doing what is right, what is expected of us, of serving. But, there is a place that God is always working to bring us to where He says, “Okay, from now on you are going to walk with me in deep, real, friendship. As my friend, I will share my secrets with you.”
Let me tell you what that means. That means that our capacity for friendship with God determines our capacity for revelation. And revelation is absolutely the most essential thing for effective ministry, for effective business, for being effective in our calling. So, God brings people to the place of friendship with Him. And one day, as I was interacting with the Lord around this whole subject, I felt like He said, “Reed, the friendships in your life with other people are a reflection of your friendship with me.” You know the verse, we have all heard it 100 times, “How can you say you love God whom you have not seen? If you cannot love your brother whom you have seen.” So, our friendships in this world really are a reflection of the quality of our friendship with God. What do we do to cultivate Earthly friendships?
I remember I had never been a pastor before and I was about 40 years old and I got asked to be an executive pastor in a church. And I was so excited because I thought, “I am going to actually get to preach to people every week. My congregation, I am going to get to pour whatever I have learned over my lifetime into the same people.” I was imagining myself, one day, preaching this sermon on the love of God to my own congregation. And I heard this voice in my head saying, “Reed, I am not sending you to this church to preach sermons about love. I am sending you there to love people. And so, I instantly was brought up short by the Holy Spirit because I thought if I could preach really great sermons on God’s love that I was being a good leader. But God’s version of a good leader is one that loves well and loves deeply.
Now imagine, a couple of years go by and I am pastoring and preaching up and down the West Coast. And I am getting invited to conferences. I am at a conference and I am getting to speak on any subject I want and I feel the Lord says, “Talk to them about my love.” And that is my favorite subject. My friends even jokingly nicknamed me “The Love Pastor” to give me a hard time. And I think, “I get to do it again, I get to speak about love.” And I am so excited. I am in the presence of God and I hear that same tonal quality of the voice of God in my heart say, “Reed, how many people in your life right now, if they died tomorrow or moved to another country and you can never see them again, would it really hurt you?” I started looking at the closest people to me other than my family, I had to admit, “Well, I would say nice things at their funeral, I would miss them a little bit, but it really wouldn’t change anything about me to lose one of them.” Then I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Reed, if you are giving your heart to people the way I want you to, it will hurt you when you lose one.” And He started to teach me what it means to live fully invested in friendship. And He has told me things like this, “You do not know if the person you are having a cup of coffee with today, could be your best friend a year from now.” If you hold your heart back and you posture and you say, “What’s in this relationship for me?” and you think you are smart enough to figure it out, you are going to miss out on the greatest friendships that God has for you.
So, the way to find true friendship is not to posture, not to calculate. You have to give your heart. Sure, we have all been hurt or wounded by a friend that we let in close. But that is no way to live, holding our heart back and waiting for the perfect friend before we give our heart again. The perfect friend does not exist. I want to encourage you today, invest your heart in other people. Because you don’t know and I don’t know when that best friend that sticks closer than a brother is going to show up. God bless you, this has been Reed Grafke for GOD TV.