Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Vocation of a Friend

Below is a great post from Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller's blog The World-Wide Wolfmueller on the vocation of friend.  Pastor Wolfmueller is the undershepherd at Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, Colorado, as well as co-host of the world renowned internet radio show Table Talk Radio. Reprinted with permission:

What’s a Vocation?
The teaching of vocation is one of the most wonderful in the Scriptures. Our vocations are more than our job, they are our calling, our station in life; they are the way we fit into this world.

We all have multiple vocations. I am a Christian, a son, a husband, a father, a pastor, a citizen, etc. Every vocation defines who my neighbor is. As a Christian I am a neighbor to all people with on obligation to love all. As a son I have my father and mother to honor. As a husband I have Keri to love and cherish. As father I have Hannah, Andrew, Daniel and Isaac to love and provide for. As a Pastor I have you, the members of Hope Lutheran to love and care for with the Word of God and the Sacraments.

Your vocation puts a name on the neighbor that Jesus commands to love as yourself. And God is at work in our vocation. When we ask our Father in Heaven to provide us daily bread, we are praying for those who have the vocation of farmer and miller and baker and grocery store manager, etc. God is behind all these various vocations answering our prayers.

We do well to consider our various vocations in light of the Scriptures to see how the Lord has ordered this world and put is in it. The Table of Duties in the Small Catechism is a good place to start; it outlines the various different callings in life and provides Scriptures for each one.

The Vocation of Friend
There is, though, a vocation that I have never seen discussed: the vocation of friend. Our vocation of friend is a wonderful gift from God. We all have a friend, and this is pleasing in the eyes of God. It is good, then, for us to consider the Scriptures instruction regarding friendship.

Consider, then, a few of the Bible’s insight regarding being a friend:
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17).

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24, See also Proverbs 27:6-10).

Friends are acquainted with good council. A friend is close enough to say what needs to be said. A friend is a trusted advisor. A friend sticks with you, even when the world begins to fall apart.

Our friends are the biggest influence on our behavior. Our peers are the biggest influence on our conscience. St Paul gives this marvelous instruction to the Corinthians: ‘Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals,’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Good friends speak the Gospel to us, help keep us in the faith, and encourage us toward love and good works. Other friendships tempt us away from the Scriptures, away from the Church, away from the Lord’s joy and comfort. We pray for good friends, and that we might be good to our friends.

Jesus, A Friend
One of the most stunning things the Bible teaches about friendship is the God Himself is pleased to be called our friend. Abraham is esteemed in the Scriptures as the “friend of God” (see 2 Chronicles 20:7, James 4:4). Moses is given the highest gift of speaking to God “face-to-face as one speaks to a friend,” (Exodus 33:11).

This gift of being a friend of God is extended to us in the New Testament. Jesus was reviled by His enemies as a “friend of sinners” (see Matthew 11:19), but Jesus rejoices in this title, in this vocation. This is exactly why He came to this world, to be our friend.

Consider these words of Jesus:
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 15:13-15).

Jesus calls us His friend, and this is the most wonderful gift, the most wonderful vocation of all. Amen.

Lord’s Blessings,
Pastor Wolfmueller

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