Jump Start # 3358
John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
I have some study habits that I don’t really recommend to others, but it works for me. I like to have music playing in the background while I read or write. I’ve done this since high school days, which was a long time ago. Most times, my music selection is something soft, a bit classical or else British 60’s music. That’s my choice. I have playlists that will just play those songs. However, there is one exception that doesn’t fit with my general tastes in music. It’s a song by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It’s called, “You can’t make old friends.” The words really tug on the heart.
When I first heard that song, I thought, “What do you mean you can’t make old friends?” Sure, anyone can do that. But, once that sinks in, you get it. You can make NEW friends. You can meet someone for the first time. But you can’t make OLD friends. Old friends have been with you for a long time. You just can’t make a history with someone. It takes time. Old friends have traveled life together. Old friends have a history together. Old friends have so many stories to tell. Old friends understand things that new friends don’t. It takes time to make old friends.
I’ve known people who have kept in touch with high school friends for decades and decades. I’ve known people who were friends in grade school and now, years after retirement, they are still good friends. Many famous rock bands started when school buddies got together and started playing music together.
One thing about fellowship in a large congregation or a city congregation is that there is always a lot of transition and movement. People coming in and people going out. The church directory gets updated yearly because of all the changes that take place. And, for many that’s the story of their lives. People in and people out. Co-workers, neighbors, even brethren, the faces change often. They are moments in time. But, something is to be said about that old friend.
Here are some thoughts:
First, that old friend has been with you a long time. They have been through the raising of families, the ups and downs of jobs, the funeral of parents, moving to different houses, vacations together, visits to the hospital, shared meals, sitting around and reminiscing together, just years and years and here we still are, old friends. When those old friends are Christians, it makes it even more precious and meaningful. You’ve bounced questions off of each other. You’ve cried together. You’ve prayed together. You have worshipped together. You have helped each other. There is no price tag on the depth of love you have for each other.
Second, those old friends may have seen you at low points in your life and yet, they have stayed with you. You may even had words that hurt each other, but the truth was spoken. Your old friend knows your heart. Your old friend has seen you shine and has seen you stumble. There has been times when you forgave each other and nothing more was ever spoken about that again. Your old friend may have been the one who came through when you didn’t know how you were going to pay your bills. Your old friend has helped you in ways you can never repay. It’s much more than just knowing someone for years and years, there has been volumes of help, advice, encouragement and support through those years. Old friends, nothing like that. And, when those old friends are disciples of Jesus, you know that when our time parts here, there is an eternity that awaits us together in Heaven.
Third, consider how long you and the Lord have been friends. There was a time when you and God were enemies and that’s because of our stubborn and sinful ways. Yet, God was still there. And, now, we have walked together for a long, long time. God knows you. God has seen you at your best and at your worst. And, as Jesus in our passage tells His disciples, “You are my friend.” We sing, “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
So many special people come to my mind as I write this. Dear, dear friends. Encouragers. Supporters. Defenders. Lovers of God. Old friends. Special friends. I tend to think Paul’s list of names in Romans 16 was just that, old friends. I hope all my children someday can say that they have “old friends.”
I hope I have been an old friend to others. You can’t make old friends…a special song, but more than that, a special relationship that only old friends truly understand. We are blessed to have old friends in our lives.