So if you started to count your blessings, how far would you have to count before ‘friend’ is included? We’ve been thinking about Abraham being blessed ‘in every way’, and the next verse – Genesis 24 v 2, is one of those ways. He has a friend. A really good friend. In fact this man was probably the servant he talked to God about in Genesis 15 v 2 – 3, Eliezer who would inherit his estate if he had no children. This man was his chief servant, but also a friend Abraham could rely on to take care of things if he died before his son Isaac was settled with a suitable wife. He knew he could trust him to follow instructions to the letter.
In church life, we should all have people we can trust like that. People we can depend on to pray for us when the going gets rough, and who understand how to keep confidentialities, maybe even ask a favour from. In order for there to be people around like that, it means we all need to be people like that. You have to be a friend to have a friend.
That’s the ideal, but the reality is, we don’t all have someone that close. The elderly – may have had close friends but they’ve all died; the disabled – no-one else quite understands how it is for them; the single parent – never get a chance to get out to meetings, or to talk without little ears around; those who have recently moved into the area and haven’t settled yet; those who have been hurt and had confidences broken once too often…the list goes on.
Deep friendships like the one between Abraham and his servant take time to develop, but they all start somewhere. I’m going to ask God to help me notice those who are without close friends – those on the outside looking in. I’m not expecting them to suddenly share their heart with me, but I can be aware of their more obvious needs, and pray for them. That may or may not develop as a friendship, but if I’m looking out for others, maybe someone will look out for me when I need it. Isn’t that what loving your neighbour is all about?