God Uses Our Friendships
When I was in the seventh grade, I had a friend named Stacy. It was 1987 and I had no interest in boys but Stacy-oh Stacy, she was in love.
In a time when most girls (not me of course) swooned for Theo Huxtable, Alex Keaton or Corey Haim, Stacy was in love with, of all people, Davy Jones from The Monkees. Everyone knew this about Stacy. She made sure of it. “Isn’t he like 42 years old?” I’d ask. “That’s gross!” She’d roll her eyes, shrug her shoulders and say, “I don’t love the old Davy Jones! I like the 1966 version, the one with the shaggy hair, big brown eyes and sweet smile. He’s amazing, you just don’t see it yet.” She didn’t care that Davy was wildly out of style in the 80’s because to her, he was still relevant. He was the center of her world and it didn’t matter what anyone else thought.
When I suggested she might want to aim for someone closer to her age she said, “You’ll see. There is no one cooler than Davy Jones.” To prove it, she invited me over to her house one afternoon after school. She prepped me on the walk home. “Davy is the short, cute one. He’s amazing. He’s the funniest too. His accent gets me every time.”
Monkees posters lined the walls of her room. She also had Monkees albums, Monkees books and even a Monkees lunchbox. Stacy turned on the TV and said, “Just wait till you see Davy. You’ll die!” She plopped herself in front of the tube and began to sing along with the theme song and flick her hair back and forth. I did see Davy Jones. And I didn’t die. In fact, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and found him completely unattractive and kind of boring but I figured he must be pretty great if she devoted her whole life to him and so I stayed and I watched.
After that, every day after school, we’d watch old re-runs together. Stacy never tried to get me to like Davy Jones. She just openly shared her love for him. She fawned and talked and sang. He was a big part of her life and he made her happy so I learned to like him. I never fell quite as deeply in love with Davy as my friend had, but I did learn to appreciate him. I even memorized the entire theme song to the TV show so we could dance together. “Hey hey we’re the Monkees, and people say we monkey around.”
I haven’t seen Stacy in over thirty years but to this day, anytime I see or hear anything having to do with Davy Jones, I think of her. To me, her identity is forever intertwined with his. After all this time, God is still using our friendship to teach me lessons. When I recently saw something on TV about Davy Jones, I was reminded of my friend and how her love was so strong that it beamed out of her and shined a spotlight onto the one she loved. It made me wonder if I love Jesus as much as Stacy loved Davy. Do I tell everyone how much I love him? Do I fawn over him and invite friends over to enjoy Him with me? Am I His biggest fan?
I do love Jesus but I’m not quite as vocal or ostentatious in my affection. Sometimes, I’m a little uncomfortable telling everyone about Jesus. I get caught up in worrying that others might not think he’s cool. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I felt God challenging me to love Him freely. How much cooler would it be if after spending some time with me, other people would come to know Jesus and appreciate Him because my contagious love for Him had rubbed off on them? What if I said, “Just wait till you see Jesus. You’ll LIVE!” Perhaps they’d learn to enjoy Him too. How great would it be if after not seeing me for thirty years, my identity would be so inextricably wrapped up in His, that they'd always remember Jesus. They may not remember anything about me but maybe my love would have beamed out of me so brightly and shined the spotlight right on Him with such intensity that they’d remember Him and sing His theme song.
This is how I want to demonstrate my love for Jesus, unabashedly and full throttle. I want to stop thinking about what others think of Him or me and simply enjoy Him to the fullest. I want to share Him with others not because I want to change them but because I love Him so much that I can’t help it. Our love is the spotlight that draws others attention to God. I know this is hard to do, especially in a world that sees Jesus as outdated and irrelevant but like Stacy, we can roll our eyes and say, “He’s amazing, you just don’t see it yet.” Maybe it’s time we stop muffling the light and invest in some megawatt love that shines so brightly that others can’t help but be drawn to Jesus because of it.
Yes, God uses our friendships in the most interesting ways in order to draw us back to the most special friendship we have, the one we share with Him.