Faithful friends are hard to come by, are they not? It’s rare to find a friend who knows when you need advice, when you need someone to talk to, and when you just need a good, swift kick in the seat of your pants. Faithful friends are the friends who will be there when you need them. They are those people you can rely on. Not the ones who just tell you what you want to hear. But the ones who tell you what you need to hear, even at the risk of hurting your feelings.
Before moving to Montana, I was involved in a ministry that traveled around to various churches. We met people everywhere. People told us how much they loved us. They showered us with gifts and financial blessings. They came to our facility and visited. We couldn’t go anywhere without bumping into people we knew, or at least into people who recognized us from our work in the ministry.
My heart was broken when God told my wife and I it was time for us to leave that ministry and move on. We had thought it was in God’s will for us to remain there for the rest of our lives. But sometimes God has other plans.
We moved to Montana in October of 2014. It was hard. We didn’t know anyone in Montana. We didn’t have jobs to go to. We didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills. We didn’t know how we were going to survive without our families and friends living close by.
A couple of months after we moved here, we heard that another Christian couple was moving into Idaho – about 45 minutes from our place. Mr. Inboden was going to be pastoring a church there. We were excited that someone else was moving to the area who knew no one – just like us. We made it a point to go to that church to meet the Inboden’s.
As soon as we met them, we liked them. When church was over that night, we asked them if they wanted to come to our place for dinner the following weekend and we were thrilled when they accepted our invitation.
Not long afterwards, they treated us to dinner at McDonalds one evening after church.
A friendship began to develop and we were more thankful for Godly friends.
Since that time, we have made a lot of close-knit friends here in Montana, but for the purpose of this article, I’m just going to brag on the Inboden’s a little bit.
Pastor Inboden and I have a nice little joke going. Every time we get ready to depart company, he says “If you ever need anything, Brother, call me. You know I mean it.”
I always say something back like,
“Are you ever going to learn your lesson?”
The reason being is this. Pastor Inboden and his wife have came to our rescue more times than I could count on both hands. In another blog post, A Bookstore Lesson On Christianity, I made mention of a time when I got stranded out-of-state. Guess who went out of their way to rent a trailer and drive a couple of hours out of their way to rescue me? That’s right – the Inboden’s. How did you ever guess?
Someone donated a large, heavy woodstove for our house. We didn’t have a vehicle big enough to fit it in. The Inboden’s picked it up and delivered it to our house. (Others have done similar things as well, but right now I’m trying to focus on this one friendship for the purpose of this article. We do appreciate our other friends as well and don’t want them to feel left out. I’m sure they will be talked about in future blogs – in good ways, of course!)
My wife was on her way home from work one night and the van overheated – while our car was in the shop. I couldn’t go out to help her and she was half way between our house and the Inboden’s. Guess who I called? My true, faithful friend. Guess what he did? He and his wife got in the car and headed out to help my wife. They not only got our van to stop overheating, but made sure my wife got here safe and sound.
More recently, the interstate between our house and the place where my wife works was closed due to high water. Mrs. Inboden texted my wife and said something like, “The road is closed. You coming to our place for the night?” What a blessing! We didn’t have to ask. The Inboden’s saw there was a need and they ran to our rescue. My wife spent the night with them and I didn’t have to worry about her safety.
When I shared the story about our Bobcat encounter, Never Let Your Guard Down, I bet you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Inboden’s drove 45 minutes out of their way to help us out with that situation as well – to make sure we didn’t get in harm’s way.
I could not count the number of times Pastor and Mrs. Inboden have bent over backwards to be a blessing to our household. We love them dearly and appreciate their friendship more than they will ever know.
But let me tell you something Jesus said,
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” – John 15:13
My wife and I love Pastor and Mrs. Inboden. They have been among the best friends we have ever known. I don’t know how we could ever repay them for all of the things they have done for us. They have proved their friendship to us by being loyal and faithful and always making themselves available to us at a moment’s notice.
Jesus laid down His life for me. He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. He allowed Himself to take a whipping for me. He allowed people to cram a crown of thorns down on His skull. He allowed them to spit in His face. He allowed them to drive huge nails through His hands. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He did that so I wouldn’t have to go to Hell. Jesus is deserving of my friendship, is He not?
Jesus said, we are His friends if we do whatever He commands us to do. Oh, boy! What kind of a friend have I been to Jesus? Have I been as loyal to Him as the Inboden’s have been to me?
Jesus’s death was so sinners could be redeemed from their sins. Jesus said we are to go into the world and preach to all nations so his death will not be in vain. Have I been loyal and faithful to reaching every single person I know with the gospel? No, sadly, I have let Jesus down. I have not been as faithful to Him as I ought to be. I have not been a friend to Jesus like Jesus has been a friend to me.
The Bible says we are to pray without ceasing. That means I should be praying and communing with God all day, every day. Am I faithful to obeying that command? Am I a friend to Jesus? Again, I find myself falling short.
God says we’re to care for the fatherless and the widows. Do I go out of my way to make sure the needs of all of the widows and fatherless are met? Have I even looked around to find out who the fatherless and widows are? Do I even know which of my neighbors need help? Or am I too busy in my own clique of friends to reach out to those less fortunate? Oh my. What kind of a friend have I been to Jesus?
What about you? Are you a better friend to Jesus than I have been? I certainly hope so. Nobody deserves to have unfaithful friends. Especially not someone who gave their all – like Jesus did.