Where Everyone Knows Your Name

Gratitude Post 293

Sat., June 29, 2019

Acts 24:23 – He then ordered the army officer to keep Paul under guard, but not to lock him up or to stop his friends from helping him.

If you know the lyrics, sing along with me: “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name …”

Can you envision Norm sitting on the corner bar stool at Cheers while Diane goes into a long dissertation?

I can. But Norm keeps coming back to Cheers because this is where everyone knows his name. This is where he has friends.

Friends. They are special people. When I was in seminary, I hung out with a group of friends. Often on school nights, we would gather in one of another’s room at 10:30 PM, take a study break and watch a rerun episode of “Friends.” We all perfected Joey’s, “How you doin’” line with just the right inflection. Karen was a bit like Phoebe. Stan was a bit like Joey. Dick was a bit like Ross. Tim was a bit like Chandler. And I was a bit like Monica. As we watched episodes we knew by heart, it felt just a little like hanging out together at Central Perk.

I am extremely fortunate. I have multiple groups of friends that I keep in touch with. From different stages of my life, some of these friends have been friends for multiple decades.

These are some friends that I hung out with this week. They are friends through my part-time agriculture job. Some of them I had met previously; some are new friends. This group is unique because they represent multiple countries around the world.

Some know English quite well. For others, a translator was extremely helpful. Together, we shared information about out mutual connection: our work. They were aware that I work part-time for this company and of my other role as a pastor. As I spoke to the group about marketing tips, I mentioned that marketing Jesus and marketing semen isn’t really all that different. Some of the underlying tactics are the same. This comment received a hearty laugh from everyone in the room.

While these people live in various countries around the world, I will continue to work with these friends. Yes, it most likely will be via e-mail or social media or another communication vehicle. We will remain connected through a group chat that one of the friend’s set-up.

Friends come into our lives for different reasons, lengths of time and level of intimacy. Every time I have the opportunity to make new friends, I am amazed at how God allows me to meet someone who will encourage me, support me and help me grow. I pray that this is mutually beneficial for both people in the relationship.

On this day, think of some old friends you have had for years. Think of a friend that maybe you’ve lost touch with. Think of a relatively recent person you became acquainted with that has become a friend. Finally, thank God for all of those friends. I pray that as you go through this little and quick exercise, your heart will be filled and our soul bursting.

While we may not always speak the same language, live in the same time zone or have the same priorities in our lives, we can usually find something in common with a potential friend. These common threads pull us together and allow us to discover something new about ourselves and the world we live in. Sometimes, these meetings feel like chance outings. Others, we wonder if someone just “happened” into their lives by accident. My guess is God helps align certain opportunities, so we have opportunity to grow and experience new things via a new friend.

If you have a little free time today, contact one of those friends whom you haven’t heard from awhile. Maybe they will be just as excited to hear from you as you are to visit with them.

I’m convinced God brings specific people into our lives at various times to help guide us through things. Be thankful for these people along the way. I pray you see just how much they have enriched your life. Because don’t we all like it when someone knows our name?

I am grateful for the friends with whom I spent time this weej.

Holy God – thank you for all the various friends you have brought into my life. I pray that I am half as important in their lives as they are in my life.

Blessings –


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