This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing;
but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me.
Instead, I chose you.
The Friendship Cycle
Who are your friends? How did they get to be your friends? As we go through life sometimes our friend choices are easy…we have friends by default. They are our friends because they are our neighbors, our teammates, our church friends, our classmates, our work colleagues. But as time passes, those friendships cycle out and we are faced with finding or seeking new friends.
It is natural to choose new friends later in life because of shared interest in hobbies, vocation, political or religious views, or just out of convenience. But who did Jesus choose as his friends when he began his earthly ministry? Did he pick people who were just like him and shared the same interest as he did? Not at all! All throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry he chose friends who were different, from a different background, political party, or socioeconomic class. Look at his disciples, look at his interactions with people on a daily basis throughout his ministry.
As we choose friends in different seasons of life, let’s be proactive and pick friends who may be different. Let’s follow the example of Jesus and find people to whom we can influence, disciple, share the gospel, and hopefully change their eternal destination.