When I was a little girl I attended a summer camp and learned the song, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." We would sing it in a round echoing each other, over and over again.
[We would also sing about Gladys and her neck like a gir-af-raf-raf-raf-raf-raf].
But that song, as I was praying about today, kept returning to my mind, and so I want to talk with you today about three things: a. Making new friends, b. Keeping old friends, and c. Knowing who you are.
This year I've been in a position personally where I have been required, forced, out of necessity, to make new friends. We've changed churches to a new church plant in Tustin, and my children changed schools in September. It has been a significant amount of social change in one year for our entire family. And its been HAAAARD.
But I have learned so much.
Making new friends takes risk, and time. I can make acquaintences pretty easily, but making friends ... that requires intentionality.
What holds us back from making new friends?
I suspect that all of us want to be the kind of growing person that is open to new friendships. There's just so much in the way--we're having a hard time staying connected with people we already know, let alone making new friends. And yet, it is usually when we need it (when it is about us), that we choose to engage and prioritize making new friends.
How many of you, as mothers [or future mothers] want to see your child walk up to another child on the playground, a child on the outskirts, and say: "Do you wanna swing with me?" To see your child be the one that can make new friends and include new people? Most of us do.
But the primary way a child learns is through example. That means you and I teach how to make new friends. Or not make new friends. If you are good at meeting new people, chances are you learned it from someone else--it was modeled to you. And the greatest model we all have as Christ followers is in that of Jesus.
When we look at Jesus, His whole ministry was to people--especially people on the outskkirts, people with no friends and no community. He befriended the widow, the leper, the alien, the tax-collector, the crippled and demon-possessed, healing them and eating meals together and showing them mercy. Yes, He had a group of 12 disciples, and within the 12 He had a couple He was closest to. But He also traveled from town to town making new friends. He sought out people because they mattered to Him, the whole reason He came was for people--so that they could know.
Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:26
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." Matthew 11:19
When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors...But when you give a banquet invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Luke 14:13I want to encourage you, as you move about your community, to notice the people around you on the outskirts, the people who might need a friend, and decide to make new friends. It will require something of you, but it is what you would want someone to do for you if you were in their shoes. And it is the example modeled to us by Jesus. And it might also become God's gift to you in the process.
Tomorrow's post will cover the second part of my talk: Keeping old friends. Because that can sometimes be harder than making new ones!
Sweet Monday to you.