Girlfriends in God - Aug. 27, 2007


August 27, 2007

I Need a Friend!

Mary Southerland



Today’s truth

Ruth 1:16-18 “But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.”


Friend to friend

Friendships grow on many different levels. There are friends we see occasionally and friends with whom we live through the major events in life. Then there are friends with whom we share every minute detail, every thought and every emotion. All of these friendships are necessary and good, but it’s important to understand that there are also seasons of friendships. Friendships will sometimes change with the seasons of life. Nevertheless, we still need friends and we will always need different kind of friendships.


Jesus needed friends and placed great value on relationships, spending much of His time with a few men, not with the hoards of people who sought Him out. His teachings are filled with practical suggestions about how to be a friend and how to have healthy relationships.


One of His most beautiful portraits of friendship is found in the book of Ruth. It’s the story of Naomi, a godly woman, who was married to Elimelech and had two married sons. Naomi’s husband and both sons died, leaving three women alone, Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah. Facing an uncertain future, Naomi wanted to return to Bethlehem, her homeland.


On the way to Bethlehem, Naomi stopped and told Ruth and Orpah that they should return to their homes in Moab, because there they would have the opportunity to marry again and start new lives. Ruth and Orpah objected, but Naomi was unrelenting. Can’t you just see this scene; all three of these women, standing in the middle of the road, in tears? Orpah kissed Naomi and returned home…but Ruth absolutely refused to leave. Naomi who was more than a mother-in-law to Ruth, she was her friend.


Noami was astonished at the love and loyalty of Ruth as they traveled to Bethlehem and began a new life. By the way, it‘s interesting to note that Ruth met Boaz in Bethlehem. They were married and had a son named Obed who later became the grandfather of King David.


Just think about it! Ruth, a gentile from Moab became part of the family line of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Why? Because Ruth was loyal! Because Ruth was a friend! Wouldn’t you like to have a friend like that? Wouldn’t you like to be a friend like that? Over the next two days, we will examine several keys that will unlock the secret to healthy friendships.


·         Time

Ruth promised “Where you go I will go. Where you stay I will stay.” Even with all of the unknowns in her future, Ruth was willing to commit her life in friendship to Naomi. True friendship takes time! Friendship takes cultivation, attention and making it a priority! Friendship doesn’t just happen. Friends won’t be dropped on our front door step by the mailman. We must develop a lifestyle that allows us to dispense time in friendship. Time spent together in friendship creates a “memory bank” from which we can make withdrawals when we are running “low” on encouragement. Time is a priceless gift and a powerful communicator of love. When you give thirty minutes of time, you are giving thirty minutes of life, a gift that usually requires planning and the sacrifice of an agenda. Ruth was willing to sacrifice not only her agenda for the present, but like a precious gift, she set aside her whole future for the sake of friendship. In a “quick-fix” world, friendship still takes time! The depth of that friendship depends upon how much time we can and are willing to invest.


Michelle Johnson is the perfect example of someone who has been willing to invest time in a friendship with me. I first met Michelle while my husband, Dan was serving as Youth Pastor of Sheridan Hills Baptist in Hollywood, Florida. Michelle and I were acquaintances, often greeting each other in passing. But when Dan and I moved to Flamingo Road Church, a mission church of Sheridan Hills, I discovered that Michelle’s children attended Flamingo’s church school along with our children. We naturally saw more of each other and became better friends. Michelle and her husband, Jay, began to pray about attending Flamingo Road Church because it was closer to their home, which meant they could be more involved. After joining the church, our paths began to cross more often and soon Michelle and I were involved in the women’s ministry where our friendship grew even more. Dan and I eventually bought a home in the neighborhood where Michelle and Jay lived. It was then that I fell into the pit of depression. I met with Michelle, explained my struggle and asked if she would consider taking over the Tuesday morning Bible Study for a while. Michelle immediately made a choice, not only about the Bible Study but about her role in my life. She didn’t wait for me to explain every detail of my need for help. She didn’t wait to count the cost. She simply stepped wholeheartedly into my life and began to walk with me through that ugly, slimy pit! She bought groceries. She picked up my cleaning and my kids, listening for hours as I talked…about everything…and nothing. She prayed, cried with me, made me laugh and fussed over me like a mother hen. Today, her friendship is beyond measure in my life…because she was willing to give time.


How about you? What friendship in your life needs a good dose of your time? That time will surely come back to you in precious ways that will enrich and bless your life. Just give it some time.


Let’s pray

Lord, help me see the importance of friendships. Change the things in me that keep me from being a good friend. Help me manage my time in such a way that friendship is a priority. I surrender my agenda to You and ask You to use it as a tool of friendship. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Now it’s your turn

Write a short paragraph describing the perfect friend. List the qualities you think are most important to you in friendship. After each quality, write down the name of a friend who exemplifies that characteristic. Then, using that same list, make a list of people to whom you are that kind of friend. How do the two lists compare? What friendship truths can you draw from this exercise? And how can you apply those truths?


More from the girls

Oh, we need friends…don’t we, girls? Yet, I am daily amazed at the countless women who are lonely and think that friendship is not available to them or that because they don’t know how to be a friend…never try. Don’t assume anything, girlfriend. If you see a need, meet it…and you might be surprised to discover that underneath that need is a great friend…waiting just for you. For more relationship tools, see my book, “Sandpaper People.



Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.



Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106




Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area.

Originally published Monday, 27 August 2007.