There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship. Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.
c. 1267 Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)
Once, I returned from an overseas trip to a spider-infested car. While I was away for three weeks, the unwelcome arachniae have made their residence in my trusty old Honda, spinning merrily their webs and happily procreating. Despite washing and even waxing the car twice, I face spider webs every morning when I go to my car. Even my neighbours’ cars beside me were affected if they parked their cars too close to mine.
This incident parallels in many ways the effects of sin in our lives. If we are not careful, sin encroaches upon our doorways and pitch its tent in our lives. The web of deceit and destruction have long term effects. Quick-fix solutions hardly scratch the severity of the problems. Unpleasant as it may be, painful even, we will have to one day acknowledge that we need God’s divine intervention through His Son Jesus Christ. Only God fixes sin problems and root out its devastating effects more thoroughly than we could ever do.
The same can be said of the people whom you sojourn with in this life. We need to choose wisely whom we call friends, and Whom we serve. Like my neighbours’ cars, proximity is enough to corrupt! Make no mistakes about it. We crash not because of our carelessness. We crash because of bad company. Paul says to the Corinthians, “Do not be deceived, ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
This is why we need accountability and fellow sojourners in this journey. Two groups of people came to my mind during my recent trip to the United States when I think of friendships that nurtures and sustains. While I dreaded the jet-lag and the stress of being away from home, what really comforted me was the familiar faces and faithful friends. Young Jin and Grace Park graciously hosted me for a week when I was in Los Angeles. Young Jin and I were classmates in our MDiv program almost two decades ago. They gave generously and served this tired body with delicious home-cooked food and delightful fellowship. In the words of Grace, “it’s as if we were never apart after all these years.” That’s the beauty of true friendships found in Jesus Christ.
The second group was our SBC alumni serving around the Los Angeles area. There was an alumni gathering hosted by our 6th Principal, Rev Dr Albert Ting. I renewed friendships and made new ones. One of the hallmarks of SBC alumni is the fraternity and fellowship we enjoy whenever we gather together, regardless of which decade we graduated from. We have shared experiences and sacred allegiance to our Lord. This makes our friendship unique.
As you soldier on for our Lord, know that we are all part of this same family of God. As you serve your flocks, remember that you have friends available and ready to S-hare, B-ear, and C-are for you. That’s what biblical friendship is about. That’s why SBC is so special.
Grace and peace