By Aren Haggard

World renowned businessman, philanthropist and multimillionaire,
Holton Buggs, has one self-proclaimed secret to his success. “You
won’t out-friend me!”, he says proudly to a crowd of thousands who had
gathered to hear him speak. Not his speaking ability, his acumen for
finance, or his sales skills, but his friendship skills, Holton says, have
made him millions. If Holton can add zeros to his bank balance with this
ideology, could we help add people to the Lord’s church with the same
way of thinking? I think that not only the obvious answer but the Biblical
one is a resounding yes!

First of all what’s the alternative? Make enemies? Keep everyone at
arm’s length? Is that what Jesus set out to do? Certainly not! Think
about the interactions Jesus had with people.

Jesus constantly looked for ways to connect with others. Whether it be
one-on-one like the woman at the well, at lunch with Levi and his
friends, with a crowd at his house in Capernaum or on the cross with a
thief, Jesus was always making friends (Lk. 7:34). How many people
could we reach with the gospel and bring into the family of God if we
made more of an effort to simply connect on a regular basis?

And let’s not forget the apostles! God’s plan for building His church and
opening the doors of the kingdom hinged on the work that the apostles
of Christ would do in the first century. But years before they were
apostles they were friends (Mk. 2:19). They were the men that Jesus
traveled with, ate with and shared some of His deepest secrets with.
They were with Him in his final moments, watched on as He was
crucified, mourned his death and looked longingly as He ascended into
heaven. Through this close bond He would teach and instill in them
what they would need to do the Lord’s work after His departure (Jn.
15:15).

Holton Buggs might be a wonderful friend, but he’s got nothing on
Jesus! The friendship of Christ would send Him to the cross (Jn. 15:13)
with the motivation that through His death He would make millions of
friends (Jn. 15:14).

This week let’s begin to be more like our Savior. Connect with others,
get to know them, be a friend.