I have friends. I don’t have, well, LOTS of friends. But I have friends. There are people I enjoy being around. There are people I share activities with. And there are some friends…the really good ones…that I share life with and talk more openly and honestly with. But I’ve never thought about doing that…well…missionally.
That’s just what Rick Thomas suggests in a post over at his blog, RickThomas.net. He claims that Jesus was pretty intentional in how he chose his friends. Look at Matthew 4:18-19:
As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”
He chose his friends for a purpose…to follow him. (In fairness, I’m not sure this accounts for relationships with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus here.)
Thomas suggest that we might want to have this be a sort of model for us.
Jesus had a heavenly purpose for Himself and His closest friends (Matthew 6:33). He built His relational network in order to have the best possible advantage of redeeming the greatest number of people. He had thirty-three years to find, envision, and equip a group of friends who could carry out His redemptive vision to multiple generations.
How many years do you have to find, envision, and equip a group of friends to carry out His redemptive vision? Of course you and I do not know the answer to that question, but maybe that is not the best question to ask. How about this?
What is your redemptive motive for friendships?
What is your redemptive mission for friendships?
What is your redemptive methodology for friendships?
While I appreciate what Thomas is doing here I’m not sure how practical this is for (at least what I consider to be) friendships. It sounds a little colder and more calculated than I’d care for it to be. But I do think we can assess existing friendships and ask what relationships might be pulling us away from our larger missional purpose and might need be examined.
What say you?