“Collecting Friends”

July 10, 2013

Missouri hay 7/9/13
Koch Farm View in Southern Missouri
(click on photo to enlarge)

“Collecting Friends”

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“Thinking He was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends” (Luke 2:44). “Friends always show their love. What are brothers for if not to share troubles?” (Proverbs 17:17).

Today we are visiting with Dave and Sandy. Dave is the friend I’ve had the longest contact with. His large family were our neighbors in Belton Missouri over fifty years ago when we both began first grade. We went through grade school and Junior High before my family moved from the area. But Dave and I have stayed in contact all these years.

Neither Brooksyne nor I are much of collectors as far as specific items but we do tend to collect alot of “stuff.” I am particularly inclined to have my Dad’s depression era thriftiness regarding disposing of anything that might ever be remotely useful at some point in life. I still recall the oily rust covered Folgers coffee cans filled with miscellaneous nuts and bolts he kept in the garage till the day he died. Now I have a propensity to do the same thing!

However we both collect friends. We’ve continued to collect friends all along life’s journey and keep adding to our collection. Of course since our marriage we have mutual friends. For many years now I’ve been taking photographs of these friends. They are placed in a folder on my computer labeled “friends” and many have been placed up on this site. It’s quite a collection and periodically I go through it and reminisce. If you join us for a meal in our home you will be asked to sign our guest registry. It helps instill memories of enjoyable visits from friends and family over the years.

Jesus was twelve when the occasion of the events concerning the daily verse occurred. This was when his parents “lost” him after a trip to Jerusalem. What caught my attention was His parents’ sought for Him among his relatives and friends. Of course we know that Jesus was actually back with the religious leaders, but the wording of the text indicates that it was Christ’s practice to spend time with relatives and friends. That’s where His parents assumed He would be and where their search began.

I suppose we don’t think much about Jesus having friends as a little boy. But He surely did. It’s normal and healthy to have friends and the Scripture declares that Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Growing in favor among men would surely include developing lasting friendships.

Jesus considered His disciples to be friends. He said to them, “You are my friends if you do what I command” (John 15:14). And after the resurrection in one of His encounters with His disciples He has this exchange, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” (John 21:5).

The Apostle Paul was also blessed by many friends. I enjoy this rather obscure passage, “The next day we landed at Sidon; and Julius, in kindness to Paul, allowed him to go to his friends so they might provide for his needs” (Acts 27:3). Paul seemed to have friends wherever he went which means he was regularly making friends along the way.

I thank God for my friendship collection. The really neat thing about this collection is that, unlike other earth bound collections, for the most part I can take them with me to heaven. All my friends who follow Christ will be among those with whom I spend eternity!

Perhaps you will consider your friendship collection today. Make an effort today to contact an old friend. You might also consider making a new friend. It will bless you and it will also bless your friend!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to show our love to friends in regular conversation and in tangible ways as we reach out to them and express personal interest in their lives. Proverbs 17:17 teaches us that “Friends always show their love”, not only in the good times but we share together in times of trouble upholding, supporting, and bearing their burdens with them on their life’s journey. As we mutually bear our burdens we are strenthened and encouraged together. Our lives are greatly enriched by the friendships we establish and grow from day to day.   Amen.

* Due to travel we are temporarily suspending the preparation of regular podcasts with each message. It is a complex set-up and time-consuming to prepare in a hotel room. We expect to periodically prepare some messages as podcasts while on the road and resume regular podcasts when we return home.

Collectible Items: Collectibles require certain maintenance practices such as dusting, at times acquiring storage or display units, the expense of collecting, making room in your home, etc. They can be a pleasure to the eye and are often a conversation piece. Friendships require maintenance as well: making the time, listening with interest and follow-up, corresponding or getting together, practicing forbearance and forgiveness, working through differences, lending a helping hand, etc.  But the reward of good friendships makes life so much more meaningful.

Some scenes along our journey:

Clarence and Ilene Koch 7/9/13
Four years ago we made friends with Ilene and Clarence Koch. A longtime reader of dailyencouragement, Ilene learned that we were going to be in their area a few miles outside of Springfield, Mo when we came through four years ago. She invited us to their farm and we had a wonderful visit and have kept in touch since then. Several months ago she was diagnosed with cancer and we were unsure as to whether we’d meet up yesterday but they invited us to their home and we had another wonderful visit. Ilene is greatly supported by Clarence, her loving husband of 59 years, her daughters, a caregiver, and the hospice team. As we were singing a few hymns she told me (Brooksyne) how she and the hospice chaplain have compared notes about the hymns and sing them together during his visits. The family welcomes your prayers on their behalf.

Missouri silo 7/9/13
In rural southern Missouri we passed this ivy covered silo with a tree growing out the top!

Missouri barn 7/9/13
“Jericho Station – Our Door Is Always Open”
(Couldn’t resist this photo at the lower end of the Koch farm)

David and Sandy Simpson 7/9/13
Dave and Sandy Simpson at the popular Lamberts Restaurant in Springfield, MO. Dave’s friendship with Stephen goes back to first grade in Belton, MO. Ester insists on stopping at Lamberts when we’re in Springfield where the waiters come around with their kettles of fried okra, fried potatoes, black-eyed peas, sorghum, and of course they regularly throw the rolls to you when you’re ready for another one. That’s on top of your entree so you leave waddling like a duck once you fill up on their country food, tho’ we passed up the hog jowls, chicken gizzards and a few other hillbilly food items on the menu.

Brooksyne with cigar at Lamberts 7/9/13
Brooksyne’s ham and bean meal at Lamberts came with a cigar.
Note: She did not smoke it!

Lambert's sorghum man 7/9/13
Brooksyne fully returned to her country roots and requested sorghum with her throwed roll. Breakfast in her growing up years in Oklahoma always included homemade biscuits and a gallon of sorghum sitting in the middle of the kitchen table.

Missouri Hick BBQ corn shucker 7/9/13
Anyone recognize this old farm device in front of the Missouri Hick BBQ in Cuba Missouri?

Today’s Suggested Musicand SupplementalResources

“Eternal Vacation”  Video  Dailey and Vincent    Yesterday, on a portion of our journey to Springfield, we got off I-44 and drove down old Route 66 and I was in the mood for some real country gospel.

“Old Friends”  Video  Bill Gaither and his many friends (more than a few who are now with the Lord!)

“Friends”  Video  Michael W. Smith

“Old Friends”  Video

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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