Thanksgiving is fast approaching and one thing we truly can be thankful for this November are our friends. Friends are hard to come by, so when we do have a true friend, or a couple of true friends, that we cherish, we must remember to truly treasure them by showing ongoing appreciation for all they do. Our response in the very least is a simple, “Thank you” — speaking volumes to the kind deeds that are displayed by them
What is a friend?
Well it depends on whom you ask.
Aristotle said, “Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.”
Augustine said, “I would rather have speeches that are true than those which contain merely nice distinctions. Just as I would rather have friends who are wise than merely those who are handsome.”
If you were to take a poll on the street, there would be a variety of responses in regard to the characteristics and definition of a friend. Some might say a friend is one that you can trust and one you can count on in the darkest of times. One that forgives, forgets, and who is willing to love in all sincerity and purity.
What is your definition of a friend?
Friendship is usually described by a person’s behavior — what they do — and not so much the words from their mouths. As my grandmother would always say, “Talk is cheap.”
Actions are the loudmouth tattletale of thoughts that manifest to the surface, on display for all to see. Thus our actions are a clear window of the motives of our heart.
One thing I love about Jesus is that He had friends from all walks of life, gender, age color, but mostly those on the “outskirts” of society. Such as the elderly, poor, handicapped, sick, fatherless, widows, orphans and anyone else that society pushed out, neglected and were prejudiced against.
Jesus is the perfect example of a friend.
We can learn so much from Him and all the things that He did. In addition, He was a friend to all because He truly loved all people and demonstrated that love by giving Himself up on the cross for each one.
It is no wonder the people cried out to Him, before His appointed time of crucifixion, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!” No doubt His friends were in the audience loudly exclaiming.
The specific stories of the Bible are evident of the friends Jesus had while living on this earth. Some of the wonderful examples of Jesus’ display His attachment to people through His never-ending affection.
Jesus was a friend to the crippled woman who had a bent back for 18 years. He healed her on the Sabbath. The love He had to go to the outer courts of the temple (taboo in those days for a Jewish man) to a woman and to a sick individual, adds to the evidence of His great friendship of going above and beyond out of pure love. He went to her on her level where she was at to minister to her.
Thankfulness! Her voice glorified God!
Jesus was a friend to the 10 lepers, who, living on the outskirts of the city, were excluded from people and society because they were considered unclean. Jesus did what the ordinary person would not. He walked straight into that city and when He saw the lepers, they cried out praise and asked for mercy and Jesus healed them.
Jesus was a friend to criminals saying to one next to Him on the cross, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus was a friend to the tax collector, a despised and hated person of that time due to the character of those with that occupation. Not only did He love them, He handpicked Matthew, a tax collector, to be one of his 12 disciples.
“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he [Matthew] got up and followed Him.”
Jesus was a friend to tax collectors, murders and sinners. People who knew their short comings and were shamed by them enough to acknowledge them.
Many of the parables that Jesus shared were lessons about people that were lowly, sick, outcast, pushed away from society, acknowledgers of their own sin and His overwhelming abundance of grace He had upon them. He demonstrated that perfectly.
Jesus is a friend to you
Not only was Jesus a friend to all these people in the Bible, he is a friend to you and me right now. Knowing who we all are and what is in our hearts, He still looks to the faith we have in Him and says, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”
Will you see that the best friend you could ever have is Jesus?
Will you put your trust and faith in Him?
Will you stop allowing who you are and what you have done to hinder your friendship with Jesus?
Will you give thanks to Jesus?
During this month of Thanksgiving one thing we can thank God for is all of our family and friends. When you are verbally shared the things that you are thankful for around your Thanksgiving meal, no matter what tradition of giving thanks that you may have, don’t forget to pour on the thanks and praise of Jesus. The greatest Friend ever and no doubt a Friend to all.
Scripture references: Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9, 10; John 12:13; Luke 13:10-13; Matthew 9:9; Luke 5:20
About the author
Simone Lake is a pastor’s wife and full time minister. She serves in the areas of Bible teacher, speaker and author. She is also a chaplain, short term missionary, prayer leader, and mentor. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies and attends Church on Randall Place, where she serves in various capacities alongside her husband, Pastor John Lake. Read more about her speaking engagements, Bible studies and upcoming events at: www.simonelake.com or www.simonelake.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/SimoneLake.
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