You’ve probably heard of the saying, “to have a friend you’ve got to be a friend.” Like anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. So it’s not always easy. Friendship takes time, effort, patience, tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness, love. Yet we all know that good, true friends – the kind that will support and love you unconditionally, through thick and thin, are hard to find, and well worth what it takes to keep. Jesus told us and showed us how to be a good human being, a son, a brother, and a friend. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:12-15). What a bunch of friends Jesus had! Judas who betrayed him, Peter who denied knowing him when the going got tough, Thomas who didn’t believe in him…and yet he showed us how to forgive (seventy times seven times if that’s what it takes!) and be encouraging and patient (telling them to go out and fish again) and loving (in so many ways). I feel sad that some of my friends over the years have grown distant or fallen away, mostly because of my lack of effort, or because I have let unmet expectations get in the way. It reminds me to look at the friends right in front of me today…and to be a friend to them. God often helps me grow and speaks to me through my friends. But mainly I get to know and love myself and God a little more through good friends. To all of my friends, in the past, in the present, and those yet to be in the future, thank you and I love you.