Tim is a long-time friend, one of my longest friendships. We first met over 30 years ago when we were attending seminary together.
We share many of the same values, beliefs, and convictions. We were both pastors serving small churches in rural communities. Being from the same denomination, making a connection made perfect sense. We had several classes together, and unfortunately, we skipped many classes together. We used to laugh that Tim had the spiritual gift of organizing meals. It was not uncommon to hear Tim say, “Let’s skip Old Testament class today and go to Pizza King.”
After graduation, our families got to know one another. We would often visit each other’s parsonages. Tim and I were in the same ordination class. And our friendship continued to grow. There was a series of summers (about 12 years in a row!) that we directed an elementary-aged church camp together. We would bring our children with us for the week and had a great time each year. All of these years we would move from church to church. Sometimes our churches would be close together, at other times far apart. But through all the years our friendship has endured. And still, Tim is a trusted friend, spiritual mentor, and confidant.
I wish that everyone had a friend like Tim. That’s the point of this article. Get a friend like Tim. Let me tell you why.
Tim and I live about as far apart as we can in Indiana. He serves as pastor of Angola United Methodist Church in the northeast corner of the state, while I serve Evansville Central in the southwest corner. We don’t see each other as often as we once did. It’s not very practical to get together for one thing. But we try to make time for our friendship. (I must confess that Tim is much better at this than I am.)
Our monthly lunches have turned into an occasional phone call and trying to make time for one another at conference events. But I still value my relationship with Tim because… he challenges me.
When we have an appointment, either in person or by telephone, I begin preparing. You would think that I didn’t need to get ready for a meeting with a dear friend, but I do. I need to think through and prepare for the meeting because Tim always asks me the most important question. At some time during our time together, usually near the end when we are about to pray together, Tim will look at me and ask, “Dewey, how is your walk with the Lord?”
I try to care for my relationship with Jesus each day. I read Scripture. I pray. I meditate. I do all this regularly. Daily even. But Tim knows me. And he holds me accountable. I can’t be lazy when I know that Tim is out there somewhere. I can’t lie to Tim. So when we are getting together, I am especially careful with my daily spiritual disciplines. He makes sure that I am doing what I am supposed to do, and what I say I am doing.
You should get yourself a Tim.
Yours may not be a pastor, and maybe you won’t even be in the same profession. But you should find someone who will pray for you, and for whom you can pray. Find someone who will help you to be more faithful, and that you can encourage to greater levels of faithfulness. Find someone who is concerned for your spiritual wellbeing, and for whom you can be concerned.
Find yourself a Tim and your spiritual life will be enhanced. You will grow in faith like never before.