Friday, June 26th Mark 1:16-20

As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea‑‑for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him. Mark 1:16-20

Friends share our life journey.

I don’t think it is an accident that the first thing Jesus did upon beginning his earthly ministry was to collect a few good friends. The disciples, Jesus’ friends, gave Jesus companionship, protection and encouragement. And, when the time came, with their memories of Jesus in their hearts, they carried on the work of their friend.

Have you ever thought much about the daily life of Jesus? There are bits and pieces in the New Testament, but certainly what is recorded is only a tiny piece of his actual life Except for a couple of shortcuts on a boat, or the time he hitched a ride on a donkey, he walked everywhere he went. What do you do when you walk everywhere? When you walk alone, you think or sing. When you walk with friends you talk, laugh, argue, dream. It’s much more fun to walk with friends.

Jesus didn’t have McDonald’s. He ate fruit, nuts, bread – and when there was time and something to throw on the grill – he ate meat cooked over an open fire. That took time – to catch dinner, to gather something to burn, to start a fire. It’s work by yourself, but fun with friends.

Those nights when he was between towns, with no Motel 6, he slept under the stars. Have you ever done that? I have. It’s spooky. The worries are the same today as then, wild animals or robbers. It’s safer to do it with friends.

When I left the seminary, I specifically asked for an opportunity to be an associate pastor. I didn’t have the confidence or ability to be a solo pastor. I needed someone else, a mentor, a coach, a friend. When Jesus sent the disciples out on their own missionary journey, he sent them out two by two. For the same reasons – it was safer, they could encourage and protect one another, and they could hold one another accountable. Life is always better with a friend walking by your side.

Friendship is truly a gift from God. If Jesus needed a few good friends to share his life journey, how much more do we? As we said at the beginning of the week, while it is harder work now to find and maintain friendships, some things in life are worth the work.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, when we imagine the days of your life we see scenes of you and your friends walking down a dusty path. We see you at dinner, surrounded by people, all listening to your stories, laughing and enjoying themselves. We know you valued friendship. You even called your disciples your friends. We thank you today for those people in our lives who are more than acquaintances but are true friends. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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