Last week I have travelled across America. Each stop I was greeted by the best thing anyone could ever want: Friends. Even when you arrive at midnight in cold Chicago, friends are there. They care for you and give you the best room in the house and talk with you for hours on end. Arriving in even colder Michigan where the snow steadily falls, more friends are there. They introduced me to more and more friends. Within forty-eight hours new friends have become like old friends.
On to Kansas City, a friend immediately meets me at the airport and gives me the keys to his Cadillac, with enough snacks stocked in the car to see me through a week in the jungle; and off I go. I head north, in the night, toward the freezing temperatures in Iowa. My destination is a surprise visit to my 97 year old Grandmother. Eventually I am too tired to go on. I just randomly stop at the first hotel I see. I register my destination on Facebook and immediately another friend pops up and says her house is only two miles away. A few hours later, in sub-zero temperatures I am reunited with a friend of twenty years ago. The warmth of friendship obliterates the piercing cold.
I drive on and visit my Grandmother. I am only glad she didn’t have a heart attack when her Grandson who lives on the other side of the world, wakes her from a nap. During the day my Grandmother kept touching my hand to make sure she was not dreaming; yes I was there. At the end of the day I headed deeper into Iowa, drawn by the prospect of seeing more friends. We barely could quit talking as we caught up on our current events during my stay. Only the closest friend would fix me hamburgers from Iowa beef with cheesecake for desert at breakfast.
Off I drove to Kansas City. Again my time was short but full of fellowship with friends. I returned the car and was treated like a king. Meeting long time friends is always fulfilling. We can joke and laugh long hours and never get tired. The visits always seem too short. Off again; this time to Los Angeles. A meeting was cancelled, so my arrival in LA should have been just routine, but nothing is routine when friends are around though. One friend meets me at the airport and drives me the two hours to meet with more friends. In Victorville, CA I cannot even count all my friends. My trip there would only last about twelve hours, but friends host me for a giant meal, and open their home so I can stay the night.
You know, Jesus calls us his friends. “13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 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 15:13-15) After what Jesus has done for us, would there be anything we would not be willing to do for him?
Being a Christian I have friends all over the world. Some I know well, and others I only just met, but no matter where I go in ministry, it is always an honor and privilege to be among friends. Sometimes as we receive blessings and love from our friends and other times we get to give it all back. That is true friendship.