We recently had some friends over for dinner: the kind of dinner where we get takeaway and sit round at one of our houses to eat. Over the course of the evening we learned how they had got together as a couple and how they had come to know Jesus. We shared similarly with them and we began to realise just how long we had known each other.
It was such an amazing blessing to realise that these friends had been a significant part of our journey for the last 15 years!
Then at Mosaic, I was listening to another long-standing friend who was speaking about Jesus and food. He shared how a revelation about how much of Jesus’ ministry was based around the sharing of or the bringing of food had impacted his view of mission. And it’s certainly true, how many more people who you know would come along to something where there was food?
Alpha courses have flourished where there is food because this builds a sense of community and purpose beyond the act of gathering together. It turns out, Jesus ate with people he knew and loved (his disciples), with people he didn’t agree with (Pharisees) and with people he hardly knew (5000 men plus their families). He provided food and/or drink for people he knew and loved (his Mum and presumably his village at the wedding in Canaan) and people he didn’t (the Samaritan woman at the well as well as another several thousand people who had followed him to listen to him teach).
Jesus knew the importance of eating with others, especially in the building of relationships!
Over the years I have been privileged to make friends again and again with many very lovely people. There are those who I’ve connected with straightaway and those who on first impression I wondered whether I’d ever have anything in common with. Many have shaped me, sharpened me, and made the person I am today.
People are precious, and there’s no way of telling when you first meet a person just how much of an impact they will have on your life. You only see that in hindsight.
So, who can you make friends with today or this week?
Who could you offer hospitality to, eat with, bless and allow them to be a blessing to you?
Or share in the comments a time when you felt an unexpected blessing from someone you’d not long known/been friends with.