“FRIENDS WE CAN’T LEAVE BEHIND!”

8 08 2016

friend

We all need the human touch! In a day where social media has reached a level that
has soared beyond the wildest of imaginations; intimate communication is grossly lacking the necessary personal connection. Texting doesn’t replace talking while making eye contact. Facebook can become an avenue where many portray an overly positive facade that offers more fiction than fact. Twitter is reduced to trying to say everything you long to express in 140 characters or less. And we have all witnessed the new phenomena: whole families can be out together without ever talking to one another! From Dad and Mom to the youngest child, each one is glued to their own smart phones, tablets, computers and other various gadgets. They might appear to be sharing space but they never get close to the heart of what matters most. Life is always all about relationships. Our most important one is with God and then our concentration on building healthy ones with one another.

 I think the whole “selfie” concept that so permeates our society has complicated our need to shake the temptation to be egocentric. I found a contraption in the church office the other day that I thought was something to retrieve golf balls that got stuck in the deeper water but it turned out to be what is called a “selfie stick!” I had to shake my head in amazement. Don’t you think that Mr. Kodak or Mr. Polaroid had something other in mind when they designed their cameras? In almost every healthy connection, those involved must be looking out rather than just trying to discover the best ways to manipulate and use others to meet their own needs. I got a note on Twitter that I could actually buy “followers.” I didn’t get it! Why would you want impersonal fans that have no real interest in developing a genuine friendship? Just because you have over 4000 Facebook friends, doesn’t mean that you are close to all of them if you are to even any of them! And on Facebook, you can totally portray an image that isn’t close to the real you at all! How many people could you say really know you? How many others do you truly know? When you venture out into a social situation, are you initiating genuine conversations or are you content to remain safe in surface land?

 I know many of us have been burned and abandoned by those human beings we trusted and it can be very scary to take the chance to be open and vulnerable again. But God didn’t make us to be solo acts. We thrive in community and we are at our best in doing all the “one another’s” that Scripture teaches us. Love one another and pray for one another and rejoice with one another and weep with one another. God set us the example when he modeled for us the best way to express that we want to let others know how incredibly special they are. Jesus came from Heaven and moved right into our neighborhood. He became one of us and pitched his tent in the not so positive confines of human hearts. He did what he did to show us that the greatest love of all kind is to sacrifice and lay down your very life for another. Unfortunately today, rather than taking a bullet for brother or sister, we are the ones left holding the smoking gun.

 We all need true friends! Notice, I didn’t say best friends because sometimes those people you have labeled your best buddies aren’t all that good for you after all! If you fall, who will be there to help you get back up? If your companion stumbles as they run their race, could they count on you to carry them to the finish line if need be? Remember that the Bible never says only the ones who finish first will get into glory! Graduation is set for everyone who runs life’s race to completion. This means that we can assist one another in the journey. Life here is not a competition as much as it is a lesson in holy connection. Your stuff will not make it past your last breath. What would you say is the priority in your heart today, your property or the people that God has put all around you?   

 In a few weeks on my Sunday Ride Radio Show heard on 98.7 The Coast from 3-5 PM, my special guest interview will be Michael Learned who played Olivia Walton on the classic Seventies TV Show. The writer of that show was Earl Hamner. He was the real John-Boy Walton. Not only did he write for The Waltons but he also wrote many episodes for the old classic series, The Twilight Zone.  I will never forget the following episode.

 A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill stood an inviting tall arch that glowed and glistened in the sunlight. When the old man was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate that was decorated with Vegas like glitz, mother-of-pearl jewels, and lots of neon. The street that led to the gate was paved with pure gold. He and his dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw an individual all decked out in a tuxedo and he spoke like a game show host. He offered entrance into this wonderland and the elderly man began to walk towards the door. When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me Sir, where are we?” “This is Heaven,” the slick gent answered. “Wow! I can’t believe that I am going into this paradise. But as he and his dog began to proceed, Mr. Wonderful barked out the first condition by saying, “I’m sorry, but we don’t accept pets. No dogs allowed” “But he has been my faithful companion all these years,” said the man sadly. “How can I leave him outside looking in?”

The man thought a moment and his pooch began to whine nervously, so they together turned away and got back on the path and while he was sad, he knew he would not leave his pet behind. After another very long walk, the two got to the top of another hill. Only this time, it looked like something out of the back woods of Kentucky. There was a farm gate with a man standing against the post playing the harmonica. As the old man and his dog approached, he was greeted with a warm, “Welcome Home! Come on in! We have been waiting for you.” This time though both sojourners were weary, the old man asked the question, “Are we both allowed to come in?” “You bet,” said the musician. “You both look very thirst so let me get you some water.” He proceeded to wander over to the pump and filled a glass for the man and a bowl for the dog.

 When they were both refreshed by the most delicious water he had ever drank, he went back to the man standing by the tree that by now was playing, “I’ll Fly Away” on his instrument. “What do you call this place?” the traveler asked yet again. “This is Heaven,” he answered. “Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.” “Oh, you mean the place with the gold streets and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.” “Doesn’t it make you mad for them to misrepresent your name like that?” the old man quickly shot back. “Nope,” replied Heaven’s Greeter, “We’re actually happy that they screen out the folks who could ever think about entering an eternal bliss and yet leave their best friends behind.”

 Jesus would not go home to Heaven without doing everything he could to make joining him possible. What are we doing so that we too can build the kind of relationships that go deep enough that we reach the level of talking about the subjects that really matter? Please answer selflessly!


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One response

11 08 2016
ken torelli

Pastor Rudy Your messages are always on time. Love you Brother. Thanks

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