Michael and I have been watching a sermon series by Pastor Craig Groeschel entitled “Friending” (you can watch it at www.lifechurch.tv/watch). The series is about friendship, as you could probably deduce from the title. The second and third messages really hit me hard—in a good way. Pastor Craig claims that we may be One Friend Away (message 2) or One Community Away (message 3) from changing the course of our destiny.
There are three types of poverty, Pastor Craig says: material poverty, spiritual poverty, and relational poverty. Our nation is being overcome with relational poverty. Someone might have 500 facebook friends and 200 followers on Instagram, but the chances are, they don’t even have five close friends that they could call in the middle of the night, or who have “refrigerator rights” at their house. We can “connect” with hundreds of people around the world, but we might not have anyone we regularly sit down with and have a deep face-to-face conversation with. In the same way, many people can not say with confidence that they have a community of other Christians that they “do life with”—rejoicing and crying together, bonding as true family, encouraging one another in Christ, ministering to others together, etc.
As we have watched these messages over the past three weeks, I have been convicted and challenged. I realized that I am relationally impoverished. Sure, I have a lot of people that I am “friends with”—I get along well with a lot of people, and I can have surface level, and sometimes even semi-deep, conversations with dozens of people. But I have very few people who I would say know me and I know them. And aside from my husband and family members who I am particularly close to, I haven’t done a good job of staying in touch with the close friends that God has blessed me with over the years. In the same way, I have experienced true community, both in the Forge at Pine Cove, at college, and with different Bible study girls and couples. But honestly, the last time I “did life” with someone other than my family was years ago.
So I invite you to join me in being challenged to get out of relational poverty, and begin forming (or rekindling) close, deep, face-to-face (or phone-to-phone if they live far away) friendships. I am going to start by contacting friends that I am removed from physically, but I can still be close with relationally. And then I am going to pray that God will show me other friendship possibilities. But most of all, I am going to work on becoming the kind of friend that I would want to have—reaching out to others, being transparent, encouraging them, and just being present. One year from now, I want to be able to say that I am relationally wealthy instead of in relational poverty.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT
How are you doing relationally? What is one thing you love about one of your closest friends?