Pastor Dan Smyth
DISCIPLESHIP IS FRIENDSHIP
YEARS AGO, I restored a 1966 Ford Mustang - I painted it candy-apple red. Each day when I would work on it, an old man would come by and visit and start a conversation. He was a curmudgeon - rough around the edges - an ex-marine that fought in World War II. He didn't have a good bedside manner, never attended church, but liked coming around as I was restoring the 1966 Mustang.
I'd always ask; “Would you like to help?” And every time the old man would reply, “No thanks, I'll just watch.” Even as I began working on the engine - following the repair manuals step by step - the old man would say, “I wouldn't do that if I was you preacher.” “Oh you wouldn't,” I’d reply, “what would you do?” Then the old man would say, “I'd start over there,” pointing to another spot or he'd pick up a tool and show me how it was done. And I would ask, “Would you like to help?” And every time he’d say, “Nope - I'll just watch.” But in every step, he would tell me - to do this or to do that.
By the end of the week - the engine was fully restored. And the old man told me, “I've never spent this much time around a preacher before - I've always been afraid to be around church folk, cause sometimes I get to cussin’ and fussin’ and well, I’m not too pretty. But you let me be me - you made me feel welcome.”
I told the old man he made me feel loved, showing me step-by-step how to repair an engine. I said, “God loves us just the way we are and little by little, God would take off the rough edges.” The old man never knew that God welcomes him as a friend - he always kept his distance from God. Until that week, THE WEEK WE BECAME FRIENDS, and he learned, little by little, how much God loves him.
Jesus says in John 15:9 – “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.” WITHOUT LOVE – MINISTRY CANNOT HAPPEN.
Then Jesus did something ALTOGETHER NEW - it had never happened before - JESUS MOVED DISCIPLESHIP OUT OF THE CLASSROOM - calling His disciples - FRIENDS. (JOHN 15:15)
FRIENDSHIP IS THE FIRST STEP IN DISCIPLESHIP AND LOVE MAKES IT HAPPEN
Jesus says, “My commandment to you is this: love others as I have loved you. There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. (John 15:12,13) VOICE
Love is NOT about things - like a 1966 Mustang - love is about people - like an old marine who said he just came by to watch and he really just wanted to be welcomed, to be himself, and to be loved. So let's work together – to love people and not things – And watch God bring forth fruit.
See you in Church,