“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.” John 15:12-14

Our friend Donald is a great friend. He welcomed us with open arms when we moved to Fort Worth, Texas and quickly became part of our family. At that time, he was a student at Texas Christian University and part of our campus ministry group.

As a single guy without cooking skills, he ate out for almost every meal. He started inviting us to eat supper with him at local restaurants. We were thrilled to have a friend who would regularly invite us to eat with him. The places he chose were always unique and different. He soon started eating at our house too.

For about two years, he ate supper with us almost every night of the week. We all loved having Donald around and were thankful that he had truly become part of our family. When Rob and I purchased our outdoor table we purchased five chairs so that there would be one for Donald too. We still have his chair today.

Several summers ago, we needed a babysitter for our son Simeon at camp. Donald was our first choice. We invited him to come and spend part of Main Camp with us. He arrived and we were excited to see him. I had forgotten about the “no facial hair” rule for the men at camp. We had never seen Donald without a beard. I was very nervous about breaking the news to him. I thought there was a good chance that he would leave before he would shave off his beard. I broke the news to him and less than an hour later I saw him beardless for the first time. Now that’s a good friend I tell you!

I’m not sure of anyone else that would have done the same. He loved us so much. He did not complain or even hold it over me. We laughed instead. He might just be the best friend our family has ever known. He currently owns an old record business in Memphis, TN and we don’t see him much anymore. When I think about how good of a friend he was to our entire family I cry tears of thankfulness. I miss those days that we spent with our dear friend Donald.

In Genesis 2, the Lord says “it is not good for man to be alone.” Though the Lord gave us marriage (and family) to alleviate loneliness (and mirror the fellowship of the Godhead), He also gave us the gift of friendship.

The reason we keep coming back to Camp Greystone (and I imagine it’s the same for you) has less to do with the amazing activities at camp and almost everything to do with the people who have become very dear to us. It’s tough to be friends with some people.

If we are honest, the toughest person for people to be friends with is me/you. None of us are easy to get along with. We’re all MeMe birds in some way or another. We can be difficult, high maintenance, selfish, unkind….Everyday we give people countless reasons to give up on us. Sometimes they do.

What’s so amazing about Jesus is that He doesn’t just love the cool people. Jesus is a friend of sinners. Can you believe that? Jesus not only loves you but He likes you! To be liked by Jesus—wow! It’s true! He likes you. That’s not just good news, that’s great news.

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