Friendship is the great stewardship frontier of our time. So much would go well if we did friendship well. It is interesting to me that we go back and forth between two verbs associated with “time.” We sometimes “make” time and we sometimes “have” time. And yet when it comes to money we generally speak of “making” money. When I hear a person expressing the need to pay a mortgage or pay an electric bill they say they need to “make money” in order to pay that bill so that the rain does not make them wet and the night is not spent in complete darkness. And yet when discussing time with people regarding friendship they so often say they do not “have” time. They say their lives are too busy and do not “have” time for their friends or to make new ones.
I hear so much impoverishment in people regarding friendship because they are so busy making or tending to money and posessions that they do not have the time or make the time to enjoy it within friendships. Stewardship is nothing more than tending to that which has been granted into our care until such time as our life is over and our soul is removed back to God. The stewardship of our time demands that we ask ourselves if our lives are in balance between getting done those things we must do to live, and getting done those things which enrich that life.
I am comforted that Jesus has close friends in scripture. It gives me the permission to do more than work. It gives me the permission to make and sustain and nurture friendships without feeling that I am doing something lazy or luxurious. Friendship is not a luxury. Jesus made a point to say that he came to be our friend. Those verses must infuriate the hierarchy of the church to no end – especially the lonely powerful ones. What we know from Aelred of Rievaulx is that friendship is always and only between equals, which makes friendship even harder in a society which is fixated on money, wealth, position and power.
What would it be like to “make” time for friendship instead of bemoaning not “having” time for friendship? And what would it be like for our culture to work towards the kind of humility which invites the mutuality of friendship to grow out of equality and generosity an in the good stewardship of our time?