When I was a child I learned young the value of friendship. It was easy for me to be in tow on my mother’s skirt and play with whatever children would cross the paths of her comings and goings. I played with children when she went visiting, or when she was visited. I would take a walk on the beach or along a creek when we were camping and make a friend. When I started school there were friends to be made all around, that was of course before life got more complicated, but still, I have made passing friends and good friends in my lifetime, and my life is rich for it.
I learned a verse when I was young about making friends. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” What a wonderful thought it is that friendships can be made and added to without the need for ever giving any up. I must admit in days of Covid it has been harder to make new friends, but that has made the value of those with whom I have trust in the here and now all the more precious.
“Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.”
As I meander through the corridors of my memories and remember all of those passing and lasting friends, those known only for a day, and those with whom I confide even unto this day, my heart is filled with gratitude and joy in friendship. I treasure my friends and long for you to know of the sunshine and warmth you have brought into my soul. I am not always able to spend the time I would like with you, but dear to my heart you are. Those days at play, sharing a meal, or just relaxing with a good conversation, may be fewer, but your friendship I feel still in a text message or by any other means we find to extend a proverbial hand of fellowship.
Recently I have come to watch a television program called The Chosen. It is only in its second season, but as far as I can tell it is about those friends that Jesus chose to walk with Him in His days of ministry. Of course the choosing goes both ways, as do friendships. A true friendship can only be maintained if both members of the party wish to be friends. Nevertheless, in the relationship I see between Jesus and His disciples, as depicted in The Chosen, the Savior is the friend that holds things all together. His kind patience, non-condemning judgment, and His loving outreached hand is the model or picture of what a friend ought to be. He goes around, making friends, seeking not His own, but desiring mostly to give in friendship, not looking for what He can get.
I believe that is how it was. Jesus of Nazareth was a friend to all who wanted a friend, and denied no willing partner in the deed. He laughed and played, taught and helped, listened and served, because He loved.
A scripture stands out to me. Of all the titles that the Savior of the World deserved: God; Almighty; Redeemer; Master; Father, He can also be called Friend. In reference to those disciples who followed Him in days of old, He invited those who follow Him now to be His friends in like manner. “And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power” (Doctrine and Covenants 84:77). What an invitation, to be His friend, the Friend above all others, the Best Friend.
“From henceforth I shall call you friends.”Jesus Christ
My friends know me, and know the warmth of my heart. Being your friend is a gift and joy. Being friends is a great and wondrous blessing, but we have an even greater friend still. The Savior offers His hand of friendship to all who will take it. He is the friend that holds things all together. His kind patience, non-condemning judgment, and His loving outreached hand is the model or picture of what a friend ought to be. May we take His outreached hand of friendship, and extend it with our own, following His pure and selfless example of being friends. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.