Sermon: We Need a Friend

Jesus Friend

Through today’s Gospel reading the church invites us to reflect on the message of the Parable of Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1-31). It is a story about a steward who was accused by the landowner of squandering the properties he was managing. He was summoned to a meeting by the landlord and asked to present his accounts and dealings because he could no longer be trusted. So what does the steward do? It appears he was a very wise man. Right then and there he realizes that he is facing a crisis, a dire situation from which he is not going to be able to pull himself out relying merely on his own skills and resources. He understands he needs friends, friends who would support and stand by him when he loses his position as a steward, when the safety and security of his life are taken away.

There is something in this story each of us can relate to. We need a friend, the world needs a friend. When the walls of safety of our lives come crashing down, when the gates of security are breached in and uncertainty, fear and anxiety spread their dark wings over our lives – we need a friend.

Who is your friend? What are the qualities we look for in a friend? Is it someone who is always there to listen? Someone who can relate and understand how we feel and what we go through? Someone who always has time? Someone who is always ready to help, to extend a helping hand? Someone who is ready to sacrifice their own life to save ours? 

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions then I invite you to think for a moment how Christ, our Lord, savior and ultimate friend fits into that picture. Who gave up his own life to save me and you, who is always there for you, ready to listen to your worries and concerns, to lift you up and give you strength, able to relate and understand every feeling and thought that bothers and disturbs you. 

Today, we sadly witness and watch as the fear of uncertainty and anxiety sets upon the lives of every human being with the spread of a coronavirus. We are not sure what to expect. We are not sure how bad is it going to get? The governments of the world and the heads of the states issue warnings and grim statistics faster than we can possibly digest them. What do we do? Who do we turn to? Who could give us peace, a sense of safety for the lives of our families?

We gather in our beautiful sanctuaries week after week to pray, to read and reflect on the word of  God, we preach and listen to sermons and lectures about trusting God, relying on our Lord in times of trouble and tribulation. It is quite easy to sing songs of praise and proclaim our trust towards God in times of security, but isn’t the entire point of doing so to enable and strengthen our souls in such times of uncertainty and fear? 

“Do not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6), we read in the Bible. Think about it. Who can make such a statement? Who has the power to make such a powerful claim if not the omnipotent creator of the visible and invisible universe and the world we live in. These are words of someone who cares deeply, loves abundantly and unconditionally. These are words of a friend. A friend who has the power and desire to help. His arms are open and ready to embrace us, his hand is extended towards us to help us. 

Every friend is certainly a blessing from God, but it is only Him that can give us peace. Peace which is not a mere emotional state but, in the words of the apostle Paul, transcends all understanding, guards our hearts and minds (See Phil. 4:7). In the midst of all uncertainty and fear let us turn to our friend and Savior and beseech his peace for our lives and for the world.