When You Ask What They Need, and They Answer, “A Friend”

It’s so easy to rant and rave about politics, to make fun of the other side, to make bold claims about the improved world your candidate will usher in.

But when you drive past that forlorn young woman walking in the opposite direction on the road’s shoulder, and your kids are screaming in the back seat, and you’re already running late, will you turn your car around and give her a ride?

It’s so easy to look up socio-political facts on Google, to find books about Stigler or Keynes, to put together an argument on the benefits of national health care or the drawbacks of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

But when that guy at church who loves to talk (and you know he lives alone) sees you through the crowd, do you pretend not to see him, or do you cut through your hurry and find him, offer him your time?

It’s so easy to mail in a check to your local community center or to put $20 in the plate at church during Christmas.

But when you ask that person you gave a ride to how you can help, and they look at you through blurry eyes and don’t say “diapers” or “food” or “money for utilities,” but instead say, “I could really just use a friend – would you hang out with me sometime?” then what will you do?

We are so comfortable remaining among the easy arguments, learning things that make us sound intelligent, doing things that require so little. But there’s another level, a deeper level that we are called to. Another plane of engagement.

What will you do?

11 Replies to “When You Ask What They Need, and They Answer, “A Friend””

      1. I like this post. I really, really like this post. And, the better question is ‘What’s the matter with you, Larry, and you, Clint? What Shawn is suggesting is the right thing to do and besides, with the hard times that are ahead of us, without these small acts of compassion, we will surely crumble as a society, a culture, and a nation.

        1. I’m going to guess that they don’t like it because it hits too close to home and challenges them in a way they’re not comfortable with, but ultimately grateful for. So it’s sort of sarcasm, but really an admission of guilt.

  1. I love this Shawn. I’ve always been on that plane but I have to say in the world we live in, it has not always been the smartest of choices. Thank you for writing, I love to see what you’re going to say next and sometimes I just need to hear it.

  2. Yep, and sometimes the ones with the platform that stand in front of everyone and lead, all they need is a friend too. It’s just not as obvious. Thanks for this.

  3. Well done. Have been reading for quite some time and related to what you were saying often. But, this one really hits a trigger.
    This is the ‘Jesus’ I want to be.

  4. Shawn, Thanks for another great post that reminds us of the call to all of us to lives of self-sacrificial love and healing action of Jesus: loving the “other”, forgiving and healing as a matter of fact of our lives, frequently by simply and often, most challengingly, by being a friend; not protesting, legislating or doomsaying, but actually being known for our love, rather than, as is currently the case, our exclusion and -isms. As together we strive to learn to love without agenda as Jesus taught us and to show up, not as the disciples in the healing of the man born blind who were looking for someone to blame (“WHO sinned?”), but instead to show up Jesus did: bringing the powerful love of God to the situation and simply healing the man. As Pastor Brian Zahnd said last week in a message “when our ‘holiness’ makes us feel superior, it’s not holiness, just pride” the opposite of God & neighbor love. Thanks Shawn for letting your heart be a vessel and your talent a sign post always pointing us back to the heart of Jesus.

  5. I can relate to this. This is where I am the worst. I get so jealous for my own time. Thank for throwing down the gauntlet and reminding me of this uncomfortable truth,.

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