“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
The year after I graduated college was a hard one for me. I had accepted a job in another state, far from home any anything familiar. Though the work was great and I enjoyed the city, the lack of friendship in my life was palpable. All my old classmates had scattered across the country, and with no church home, my sense of community was effectively severed. Silence became the new normal in my life.
Thankfully, God was watching out for me. Two of my co-workers realized how lost I felt and began inviting me to different events. Their kindness and hospitality gave me the courage I needed to seek out new friendships. Since then, I’ve learned much about building relationships with other Christians and how vital these are to the health of the Church. With the help of Liz Holst from Desiring God, I’d like to share three ways Christians can discover the friends they need.
Take a Risk
“Many times I haven’t wanted to walk into that coffee shop, but as I walked out afterwards, I was so thankful that I did. God brings new people into our lives at just the right time. It may be a lifelong friend with whom you discover new depths, or it may just be a one-time coffee date. Either way, God chooses to put women in our lives to enrich us, both to challenge and encourage us. Without taking that risk, we may miss some sweet fellowship.”
Be the Host
Sometimes you need to be the instigator of a relationship. Before she passed away, my grandmother taught me how hospitality was the building block of Christian community. Every Sunday, she and my grandfather would look for someone new in Church and invite them over for lunch after the service. My grandmother was quite a cook, and she would serve up an enormous feast while my grandfather got to know their guest. By following their example, I was able to build lasting friendships which have strengthened me spiritually and emotionally.
“Trusting that God has a good and perfect plan for you in friendship is the bottom line. He has created us in such a way that we long for fellowship, so will we trust that he will provide that (female) companionship that we desire? I believe he will — even though it may not come when we want it or how we want it.”
The human need for community is a well-established part of our nature. It can be difficult to cultivate new friendships in our adult live: people move, jobs take over, and children can make life hectic. Thankfully, with perseverance and trust, God can direct us to the people who help us grow into better versions of ourselves.
What about you? What are your thoughts on Christians and friendship? Be sure to leave a comment in the section below!
*Ryan Duncan is the editor of Crosswalk.com