I’m only 33, but as I look at life, this year has got to be one of the biggest highlight years for me. There are steady and loving brothers in Christ all around me in every direction I turn, up in my home town of Tuolumne County – it’s really just a hugely spread out town – and down in Merced County, and across the country in Northern Virginia and Washington DC and Maryland. Okay, so that’s a very broad statement about great friends and family. In all seriousness though, I have to stop and thank God for my brothers in Christ in particular. There are so many wonderful and godly women in this world, but it can seem difficult at times to find godly men who will open up and simply admit their desperate need for Jesus Christ.
We really do become like those we count as our close friends. Some of the traits I’ve come to appreciate about my closer friends are as follows:
These aren’t traits that just appear, and I’m seeking to learn how these men became men who are over-all steady, loving, prayerful, and compassionate. One thing I’ve observed is that they are thoughtful. They don’t rush into life as recklessly as I’ve done at times. They are humble about their own achievements and think through with great gratitude each of the aspects of their lives. They tend to enjoy people more than critique them, and they are slow to assume they know what’s best for someone. They wait until mid-steam in any given conversation or interaction to ask questions that imply a bent or preference. Being slower to speak and press one’s opinions is powerful in forming friendships between men as brothers in Christ or otherwise.
Men forming strong friendships with one another are better prepared to care for their families and communities. When we seek to above all find a strong friendship with our God in His Word and in prayer, we are better equipped for loving interactions at every level. I’m reading a book right now called, “Lead, for God’s Sake!” It’s a sort of parable, nonfiction, and very easy to read. In it, you watch a man learning about friendship between men and where it can go really poorly or really well. His friendship with a janitor who steers him toward the LORD is gentle and consistent. He eventually learns that what is so intriguing about this janitor is his walk with God ultimately. He sits with God in the quiet of each morning and reads His Word, offers up his requests and concerns, and then simply listens to God.
We need a generation of men who listen to God and listen to one another, and in that place, we’ll find men who are better listeners with their wives, children, leaders, followers, and peers.
Grateful for my mentors, mentees, and friends who are such examples to me of being followers of The Man, Jesus Christ.
P.S. Thanks, Tom, for letting me share your photos…