Jesus’ Friendship Model Applied

Dave Cameron in Cafe

by Dave Cameron, Bridge Leader

As I sit here today in a Starbucks, I’m reminded of a gentleman I met here yesterday named Chris. He was sitting next to me at the long table, and I could see that he was glancing over my shoulder as I wrote some emails. Chris appeared to be in his 50’s and not entirely at ease socially. Soon enough, however, we started chatting as he began asking me questions. I realized he just wanted to have someone to talk to.

Like Chris, there are many people that are looking for a friend or a place where they feel like they can be part of a community. I’m reminded of a quote from Jamaica Kincaid, who at an early age was abandoned by her mother, suffered through depression and eventually landed her current job as a writer at The New Yorker. Jamaica wrote, “Friendship is a simple thing, and yet complicated; friendship is on the surface, something natural, something taken for granted, and yet underneath one can find worlds.”

Isn’t this true? How many of us, how many of the people we see everyday, are not only looking for people to chat with, but also are looking for something deeper, something that offers a life-giving relationship below the surface? Perhaps we are fortunate to have true friends in our lives. These friends can point us to our perfect friend, Jesus, who never leaves us nor lets us down. Whether we have deep friendships or not, we all are invited into a perfect, transforming, eternal friendship with Jesus.

Maybe you are familiar with one of my favorite hymns, “What A Friend We Have in Jesus.” This wonderful song was written in 1855 by an Irishman who lost his fiancee to an accident the day before their wedding. He reminds us that Jesus is the kind of friend we are all looking for—the kind of friend who will be with us in our grief, who will carry our burdens, who understands.coffee collaboration

In John 15:15, Jesus says, “I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” He shares his time with us. He shares with us who he is, what he knows, how he feels. Because that’s what friends do. It is out of this friendship with Jesus that we are capable of offering friendship to others. And it is within friendships that we can direct friends to Jesus’ friendship.

And so, let us go with confidence that the One who has called us his friend, will not only encourage us, but also will make it possible for us to encourage one another with friendship, perhaps even someone sitting next to us at the cafe right now.

Contact BridgesTo donate to Dave’s friendship-making work, visit BridgesUS.org/give and select his name from the dropdown menu.

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Here are the lyrics from the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”:

Joseph M. Scriven (1855)

What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

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