Friday, 20 March 2015

Friendship {Love with hands and feet}

I need to just share something.

God has blessed me INCREDIBLY, with wonderful friends.

It's one of the reasons why I wanted to share some truths about friendship - it's something I wanted to acknowledge that I have been blessed with, and to help others see - and myself - how to be a better friend to others.  As good as the friends *I* have.

The last few weeks has seen me pondering it in particular, because my friends have been an especial blessing.  Many things have got me thinking, and that's where the posts have sprung from.  
So, here I am saying, for all the world to hear - MY FRIENDS ARE THE BEST!

They all encourage me in so many ways, and these next few posts will have me looking at specific ways that we can be good friends to others, inspired by MY friends!

Today springs entirely from a very practical aspect.  

Good friends DO.

In life, it's all very well to "talk the talk" of being friends with someone, without "walking the walk".  As I have mentioned before, my friends have done many things for me - from cleaning toilets, to baking and cooking.  Looking after children.  Sending me random gifts.  Providing for our needs financially and physically.  Loads of ways.

This week, one particular friend has shown her friendship in a "doing" way.  Now, let me clarify, lest other friends feel neglected - MANY of my friends have done things for me, in the past, all of which are massively appreciated.  This week is just right there in my mind, and I am using it as a lesson for ME, as much as anyone else.

Our friends have been to visit, and with that comes work.  Work, which I add, I am so thrilled to do.  My lovely friend, however, very willingly got to work herself, in my home, and did some of my jobs for me! She cleaned my kitchen floor.  She did my ironing today (which I didn't get done last week, as my back was sore, and today I have been feeling ill - so she did it!). Two things, but they meant SO much! My floor was, quite frankly, a sticky mess. Children, helping themselves to drinks, and spilling them - it makes for mankiness.  So, whilst I was doing something else, she cleaned my floor.

Now, before I get onto anything else, it raises an important issue about friendship.  You cannot a) feel proud, or b) feel judged. These are two really crucial elements in the Christian life, but also in friendship.  If you have a job that needs to be done, be willing to accept the help.  Say thank-you, and let them get on with it, if they offer.  Don't start thinking that they must consider you to be an awful housekeeper, if they offer to do something for you. Trust me, I have been there. You need to be willing to say "yes", and just appreciate their genuine offer, without analysing WHY they have offered! Just take it that they are being helpful, and accept it as such, and leave their motive for offering with the Lord, and presume it to be good and honourable! 

I was so grateful that she was willing to do that for me.  To get on her hands and knees (her preferred method of doing it), and clean my sticky floor.

I have had others clean my toilets.  My TOILETS.  Simply because they knew it would help me.

Others, like my friend today, have done my ironing, when they knew it had got behind.  Today, I both felt ill myself, and had clingy little ones, also feeling unwell.  To know, now, that my ironing is done, is such a relief.  One less job to do, when I now know I have children who need me to simply sit and cuddle.

I am reminded of the important aspect of friendship - it's showing love in a practical way.  Being love with hand and legs.  DOING.

This verse in Galatians sums it up.

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."

Galatians 6:2 


Bearing each other's burdens.

Yes, that can mean in a spiritual, or emotional way.  But, what better way to do that, than PRACTICALLY?! If you see your friend with a "burden" - their load - the responsibilities they "carry" - then help bear it!  Take that weight off, by removing the burden, in whatever way you can.  Different friends will have different burdens.  You may need to be creative, but there could be a way of helping.  

One of the other ways, that I have massively appreciated "burden bearing", is when I have had meals provided after a baby.  Things in the UK are nothing like the USA, but I have had the odd person helping like that.  It's SUCH a help! IT doesn't have to be after a baby - illness, busyness, trying circumstances - all these things can mean it's hard just to do the everyday task of cooking. Having a meal just there, can be such a help.

Lots of things you can do, in ways that will help your friends, in particular.

Hebrews also talks on this practical subject.

"But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."
Hebrews 13:16 


The first part is fairly self explanatory.  Doing good.  Find good things, and do them.  Whatever you know is good for your friend, do it! It means knowing them well enough to understand what would BE a good thing, of course! 

Then, the next instruction is to "communicate".  In a modern context, we think of that as simply talking, or being in contact by some other means.  However, having a look at old "Strongs", expands on it.

communicate = partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: - (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.

It's to do with partnership.  Working together.  Being a benefactor - giving to others. Fellowship.

Friendship should have a practical application, because it is well pleasing to God.  Can you see, too, that it's a SACRIFICE? It means giving up of self, and giving to others. Giving of our time and effort, and not just our things or our finances.  Giving, by doing.  I am pretty sure that many of the things done for me, by my friends, were a sacrifice.  I mean, who LIKES cleaning toilets, or floors? OK, some may do, but most don't! 
 
But, before I finish,  what's the "law of Christ" that the verse in Galatians speaks of?

 
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."

Matthew 7:12  


It really challenged my heart and mind today.

We need to do to others, what we would have them do to us.

Did I appreciate, love, and enjoy my friends showing me practical demonstrations of kindness and friendship??

ABSOLUTELY!

Then, what's the law and the prophets?  If I would have them do it for me, I need to do it for THEM.

Another "summing up the laws and prophets" is the WHY we should do it!

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 
This is the first and great commandment. 
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40


We are demonstrating our love, by loving them as much as we love ourselves.

We then SHOW that love, by DOING.

Am I a "doing" friend for others? I really don't think I am as faithful a friend, as my friends are to me. I need to work at finding things to do for my friends, to bless them as much as they bless me!

How can you bless your friends in a practical way?  Do they need meals?  Help with children? Help around their home, for whatever reason? Help with transport?

Go on - show your love to your friends with hands and feet.


 









3 comments :

  1. Beautiful reminders of what we NEED to do for others to bless them and allow them to bless us when we are in need. I love this and shared it! Thanks, Caroline.

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