True Friendship

High School Small Group Celebrating Catherine’s Weddinga few of the “Elizabeths” God has put in my life

Last night, I had the joy of hearing Jodie Berndt speak at The Changing Seasons Friendship study.  She was amazing!

She looked at friendship in the Bible from the perspective of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  When Mary, the betrothed virgin, found out she was pregnant, she didn’t have many places to turn.  Would other girls her age understand she really was a virgin and carrying the Messiah via immaculate conception?  Would her parents be able to offer her the support she needed–their precious daughter went off and got herself pregnant?  What about Joseph–how will he explain his fiance’s growing bump to his friends?  Mary was in need of a friend.

But God.  So abundantly is He able to provide our needs, supports Mary through a friendship with her relative Elizabeth, who was also divinely pregnant with a child, despite her old age.

When Mary arrives, even in their very brief encounter in Luke 1, we see four lasting characteristics that mark true friendship:

“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth…In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”  

1.  EncouragementBlessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear!”

Elizabeth doesn’t ask questions, pose doubts, or immediately talk about herself and her pregnancy.  Rather, she delights in Mary’s news and encourages her in the new role she has received.  Never jealous that Mary was chosen to birth the Messiah, just supportive.

One of the points Jodie made that I loved was “God’s blessings on another woman should never be marked by jealousy.”  

Sometimes it’s hard to look at a friend who might have the perfect marriage, a budding career, a rockin’ body, a beautiful and perfectly decorated house, two angelic little children, etc. and NOT have a hint of jealousy.  But you never know what another woman might be facing.  As friends, it’s not our job to be jealous, we’re called to encourage and support one another. 

Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another…”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Amplified)

Jodie included three other great characteristics of true friends, but alas, I’ve run out of time today.  More to come!

Also, if you’re in the area, you can come see Jodie next week.  Click here for the details.