Friday, 24 May 2019 08:15

Where Have You Been?

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A funny thing happened to me this week. I have been trying to reach a good friend, with whom I speak almost weekly. However, on this occasion we hadn’t spoken in 4-6 weeks. I had tried sending text messages, making calls, and leaving voice messages. During this period he was having phone problems. He was missing calls from me as well as from others.

The funny part is that both of us were wondering about the other. When we finally talked, I told him I thought he had fallen off the face of the earth. He had told his wife. “It looks like Tim has forgotten about me.” This episode reminded me of some important lessons about dealing with people.

First, don’t assume. Both of us are confident of the relationship we have developed. However, both of us were assuming things about the other person. Most of the time when we assume we are wrong. The important lesson is to ignore assumptions about the other person. I regularly catch myself saying, “I assumed.” I am not God so I can’t know the real facts.

Second, don’t judge. Both of us were judging, but in a light-hearted manner. It is easy for us to judge another person, when we don’t know the circumstances surrounding their situation. I didn’t know my friend’s phone was broken.

Third, don’t quit working on the relationship. I called my friend, sent text messages, and left voice messages. Finally, in desperation I called the church he serves. The secretary got a message to him and he called in a matter of minutes. I had thought about discontinuing my calls and waiting on him to call me. I did not quit. We are often tempted to quit right before a successful move.

Finally, trust the other person. Everyone needs a friend they can trust. Your friendship and trust should be like the sun rising in the morning. You know it is going to happen.

I was reminded of the Apostle Paul. He had such a worthy friend. Paul describes one such friend, Timothy. Paul said, “I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state.” (Phil. 2:19-20)

As we move through life all of us need a Timothy. Timothy was reliable and Paul knew he could count on him. Paul knew if the sun came up, Timothy would also be there.

For those who serve in ministry it is vital that you have a friend for accountability, encouragement, prayer and support. This should not be a “yes man” or someone who is unreliable. There have been many occasions when my friend and I shared burdens, asked for honest feedback, and prayed together. Such sharing always gives us a better perspective.

Pray and ask God to give you that special friend. You deserve it!

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