READ : John 15:15-17
No longer do I call you servants, . . . but I have called you friends. (v. 15)
When a friendship mainly has one giver and one receiver, it lacks the balancing give-and-take of healthy human interactions. In contrast, when each person can contribute—sometimes giving, other times receiving—a friendship will more readily develop. At the very least, this kind of relationship is more dignifying, and with mutuality comes greater potential for empowerment.
This holds true in ministry as well. At Center of Hope, we invite guests to perform tasks that help us, sometimes in exchange for something, and sometimes because we just need their help. These tasks add value to our ministry or meet needs we have. Those who help realize that they are an integral part of our ministry and have our sincere appreciation. Whether guests already believe in God or not, they feel empowered to serve.
Jesus moved his relationships toward friendship. For three years Jesus trained his disciples, and then he said, “No longer do I call you servants . . . I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (v. 15). Jesus received people with broken lives, people enslaved to greed or sin; he received them as people of value, as friends, even as colleagues. We can do the same.
Jesus, thank you for calling us friends. Amen.