“They’re gonna be late!” Chad called from outside. We were still barbequing in October this year. I figured if it’s eighty degrees outside we’ll just treat everything like summer, including our dinner menu: Tri-tip, green beans and fresh bread.
I walked outside to hear more.
He looked at his phone and saw a message telling him our dinner guests had locked their keys in the house on their way out the door to see us. “I’ll just keep the meat warm when it’s done cooking,” he said. “I was running behind anyway.”
In the busy schedules of our families, our friends, who live more than an hour away, were making the trek out here on a school night with their four boys, including a baby, just to see us. This was the only night that worked in any of our schedules.
When they walked in the door a bit later, Susie and I hugged and we thanked them for driving so far to see us. The last time we’d met we had chosen a dinner spot in the middle, so this time it was a labor of love and time for one of our families.
“Oh we love to do it,” Susie said after I thanked her for driving so far. “You are some of our life-giving friends.”
I agreed that they were the same to us and together we put the finishing touches on an autumnal-summer meal. We gathered the children and ate outside as dusk overtook our yard.
As people we can either give life to one another or we can take it. I believe that God created us with that kind of power. We can speak goodness and truth to others or we can speak competition and jealousy. We can act with love and good-nature or we can act with fear and bitterness. We can give one another life or we can take it.
Even with the people we call our “friends” I believe that we can either be givers of life or takers.
Life giving people show grace and forgiveness and they love one another. They are grateful for the relationships they have in this season of life. Life giving people feel like family even though last names aren’t shared.
Life taking people, however, demand and desire and let hurt and anger fuel their actions. Life taking people let the desire to be the best or the first affect their friendships and they don’t own up to the things they’ve done to hurt others. Being around them feels like a lot of work.
What Susie said made me think about my other friendships. Am I a life-giver or a life-taker with others? What pushes me from the ability to help restore and refresh others to being a person who takes life away?
I know I’ve been a “taker” before and I hate that I have.
We sat outside long after we should have, past the girls’ bedtimes on a Sunday night and let the dishes from ten people pile up in the sink. We laughed and watched the children laugh inside the house as they played games and we were thankful, so very thankful, for friends who help to restore and refresh us.
Do you have life-giving people around you? Have you ever been around people who are life-takers? Have you told your friends they help to give you life?