“I get by with a little help from my friends,” says the song made famous by the Beatles and Joe Crocker. Friendship is an important part of our lives. Most people’s earliest memories include friends from their neighborhood, school, or church. As we grow, we gather more friends based on life’s experiences and the encounters we have with other people. Some of these individuals we consider friends, while others are good friends. Then if we are fortunate, there may be a best friend.
The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, once said, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” Friends usually share some kind of common story. Somewhere along our life journey individuals connect with others who find themselves joined by a story that is important to them as well. It can be a happy story or even a sad story. Yet, nevertheless, some common experience brings them together.
I am grateful for Christian friends and church friends. As a follower of Jesus, I have come to realize how important and how much I need to be connected with friends who share the same story of Jesus and a relationship with him. It is not easy living in this world. Jesus himself told us we would have troubles. Jesus knew firsthand that life can rough you up along the way. Jesus, even as the Son of God, gathered friends around him to walk with him during his life and ministry. People called his followers his disciples and Jesus did too at times. However, in John 15:15 Jesus speaks these words to his closest followers, “But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from my Father, I made known to you.” Jesus would also tell them, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus needed friends.
If Jesus needed friends who shared his story, how much more so do we? My Christian friends have been a tremendous source of encouragement, belonging, and love throughout my years. I really cannot imagine trying to navigate through life without them. Just knowing that someone loves you in the Lord is a blessing. And this is especially true when life bears its weight down upon you. To know that there is someone to help carry the load and that you are not alone can make all the difference. For me personally, this is why a weekly gathering for worship and fellowship is so important. As we gather together, we are each reminded that we are all a part of the same story and we are on this journey together.
Indeed, I get by a with a little help from my friends. Rather, a lot of help from my friends. Thank God every day for your Christian friends. They are a special gift. We don’t have to do this thing called life by ourselves. God has invited us to be part of the story of his Son. A story that brings us together, joined by his love, and blessed by his presence among us. Thank you for being my friend.