Friendship and love come as gifts

By Dave Henning / August 13, 2018

“We cannot make friendship and love happen.  They come, when they come at all, as gifts.  But we can make space for them.”- John Ortberg

“And if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”- 1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV)

In Chapter 18(“Winning Alone is Called Losing”) of When the Game is Over, John Ortberg makes an observation about winning.  He states that no matter how many times you win, if you win alone, you lose.  Because love is the ball game.

Thus, psychologist Phillip Zimbardo of Stanford notes, there’s no more potent killer than isolation.  For isolation wreaks a destructive influence on physical and mental health.  Most noteworthy, the devil strategically uses isolation to trivialize human existence.  Therefore, we’re conned into thinking that time pressures and work demands create our isolation.

As a result, Pastor Ortberg writes, to play the game wisely we need to observe three relational realities:

  1. Give relationship top priority.  Hence, we must first figure out how much physical and emotional energy we need to attend to our loved ones.  Then, we give our leftovers to work – not the other way around.  So, John exhorts, make the decision to give relationships top priority your starting point.
  2. Help somebody else win.  This defines the real way you play the game.  When you help somebody else, your most cherished and meaningful “wins” come.
  3. Love is eternal, but must be given today.  That’s because, the author states, moments come that surprise us with life’s fearful beauty and brevity.

In conclusion, Wes Stegner (Crossing to Safety) compares life to a waiting room:

“In the intensive care waiting room, the world changes.  Vanity and pretense vanish. . . .  Everyone knows that loving someone else is what life’s all about.  Could we learn to love like that if we realized that every day of life is a day in the waiting room?”

Today’s question: How have you received the gifts of friendship and love?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Cultivate a gracious spirit”

About the author

Dave Henning

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