Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Am I Worthy to be Jesus' Friend?

Right now, my Bible reading has me in the book of Ephesians along with the end of Judges. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul says, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." He goes on to talk about how some of us are called to be apostles, others prophets and so on. But the thing that jumped into my brain that I can't get rid of is that Jesus told his disciples in John 15:15 that he no longer called them servants, he called them friends.

Jesus calls us his friend, which begs the question: Am I living a life worthy of being called Jesus' friend?

Have you ever spent much time around name-droppers? (That would have been a good Seinfeld episode, perhaps it was and I'm just forgetting). Name-droppers are those people who meet someone once or know a friend of a friend of a friend of someone significant, but they act like they're best buddies. Name-droppers are people who feel good using a name when it gives them an advantage, but beyond that they stick it in their file and don't do anything with it.

The truth is that it's really easy to slip into the category of name-dropper as opposed to friend when it comes to our relationship with Jesus. I'm not proud of it, but this happens to me more than I like to admit.

Here's another way to put it. In the book "Same Kind of Different as Me", a wealthy white man asks a homeless black man to be his friend. The homeless man tells him he will need to think about it. The wealthy man is taken aback by the response, but the homeless man takes his question very seriously and spends a few weeks considering it. When he comes back to respond, he asks the man if it's true that when white people fish do they really "catch-and-release." He tells him that the idea really bothers him because everyone he knows that fishes does it to survive and wouldn't dream of dropping a fish because they had no need for it. Then he looks at the white man and tells him he won't be his friend if he's going to catch-and-release, but if he truly wants to be his friend, then he'll agree to it and be his friend forever.

Jesus calls us his friends and you don't have to read much further to know that Jesus is not in the catch-and-release business. Jesus was in the whole-way-to-the-cross-lay-down-your-life-for-a-friend business.

Are we going after that kind of friendship with Jesus or are we settling for being name-droppers? Paul urges us to be more.

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