The “John” In Your Life
Every month or two Jason, Chris, and I all have the chance to get together. And let me tell you, it’s so refreshing to sit over a meal together and just talk ministry and life! Yesterday was one of those days and I know I walked away refreshed and with a renewed sense of vigor for ministry. Times like these are so important no matter what stage of life you’re in – a pastor, a pastor’s wife, a parent, a volunteer. We all need people in our stage of life that we can relate to. And we need to value and invest in those relationships. Such friends are often hard to find, but those one or two people are so crucial to our lives.
Jesus too had his one or two tight friends. Actually, he had three (Peter, James, John), and one in particular. John was by far the closest of the 12 disciples Jesus chose to be in His tight-knit group. Five times in the John’s gospel, he simply refers to himself as the “disciple Jesus loved”, and for good reason. John was Jesus’ closest confidant. Jesus had 12 close friends that He taught for His three years of ministry. He had one that was there in the toughest times. John was one of the three at Jesus’ Transfiguration. John was close enough to ask Jesus who would betray Him when they were reclining at the table. Jesus asked John to take care of his mom in His last minutes. John was the first to race to the empty tomb. John was there when Jesus appeared after His resurrection, and he caught 153 fish with 6 others upon Jesus’ guidance. As you can see, John was a big part of Jesus’ life. I imagine he knew things that some of the other disciples didn’t. And if not, he at least had a very special relationship with Jesus unlike the others.
So what “John” do you have in your life? This is the guy or girl you’d call when your world is falling apart. The first person you’d call when you just got engaged or found out you and your spouse are going to have a kid. The Maid of Honor or Best Man in your wedding. The person who understands you when the rest of the world doesn’t. Ever heard the quote, “To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”? That’s the kind of person I’m talking about here. This person knows your crazy side and actually likes it in some way. They’re always there for you, even if they don’t agree. They see you the same through thick and thin.
Let me give you a few reasons for the necessity of this kind of confidant in your life. I think it’s clear by looking at Jesus relationship with John, as well as Peter and James, that such a relationship is important. But here are some quick practical reasons as well:
- Encouragement. We all get down now and again. Something bad happens or maybe you’re just frustrated about something. This is the kind of person that when you leave lunch you feel “lighter” than you did before because you’ve been encouraged to keep pressing on (or encouraged in some other facet).
- Advice. Okay, let’s face it… Jesus didn’t need advice. But we do. God needs to always be our first go-to, through prayer and Scripture. But we also need a confidant who is of like-mind that can help point us in the right direction when we can’t find our way. Not to mention a different perspective can help you explore an idea you wouldn’t have come up on your own. You can bounce ideas off each other and come to a better conclusion than on your own. The right friend will challenge you and push you to be a better you.
- Confidentiality. Such a friendship is not there for gossip-sake. We just need to vent at times to someone and know that they won’t go blab to Joe Schmo about the dirt you’re facing in your life. Sometimes it’s good to talk through things with someone you trust and know that someone is listening and caring for you.
Whether you’re a pastor, volunteer, or parent, I urge you to identify the “John” in your life. Establish that relationship and never let it go, because they will always be instrumental in your life. Life was meant to be lived in community, and that doesn’t always mean numbers. It means depth with a select few in an inner circle of individuals with the same heart-beat.