We all want good friends and good neighbors. Those who are going into school look forward to meeting new friends, wishing them to be “good” friends who will bring good influence in “their” lives. Also, all parents, including myself, pray that our children will have good friends in school, usually ones who get good marks and bring a positive influence to our children.
There is nothing wrong with this – in fact, God wants to bring good people around us, just like all loving parents do for their children.
However, some years ago I was challenged by one of the articles I read how we spend many hours praying for good friends in our lives and children’s lives but rarely pray for “us” to become good friends, or our children to be good friends to others. It is a radical shift in our mentality and a great challenge to all of us.
In today’s world, most of the people want to be successful or their children to be successful so that they will have resources and titles, which will bring more people who will serve them. That’s why some parents do early morning prayer, just so that their children will get into a good school. But it is true that we rarely see parents fervently praying for their children to be friends who make others successful.
This makes me realize how radical and transformative Jesus was when he said, “I came not to be served but to serve”. This defies and contradicts everything we knew about what it means to live this life to the full and become happy. We think we will be happy when many people are serving us, but Jesus is saying we are truly happy and fulfilled when we are serving many “others”.
This perspective change cannot happen in a day. However, what we can do is to change our prayer. If you are a student, pray that “you” will be a good friend who will bring godly, holy, positive influence on your friends. If you are a parent, pray that “your child” will be a good friend to his/her friends who help them to be successful. This upside-down mentality is the key to experience the Kingdom of God here and now.