I love my friends.

Here we are, Saturday night, heading out to the observatory next to the Adler Planetarium to get a picture-perfect view of the last summer fireworks. The skyline is breathtaking over there. Navy Pier is lit up like a birthday cake. There’s a substantial group: twenty of us or so. 

We’re talking, telling stories, discussing our churches and experiences and thoughts. As the fireworks die down, half the group decides to cash out. A few more folks leave. Finally, it’s just six of us, getting our stuff together when someone says, “So, are we doing it?”

Uh, what?

Turns out for the past twenty minutes three of my friends had been formulating a plan to jump into Lake Michigan. With their clothes on. Right there, off the walkway.

I’ll admit, part of me was tempted to join them, but I will also admit, it was only a very small part. All I could think of when I looked into that water was sharp rocks and scary fish. It was just as entertaining to watch and enjoy the ridiculous scene before me. It was also entertaining trying to beat the mad crowd of adolescent girls leaving the One Direction concert on our way back.

I am eternally grateful for experiences like those. It’s far too easy to take friendship and community for granted. When Christians are together, it naturally should be an uplifting and encouraging time because of the Spirit in us. Without fellowship with other believers, we can easily stray off the path and become dull instruments. 

The writer of Hebews was onto something when he wrote in chapter 10:24-25:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

I have a lot of introvert friends. I have some introverted family members. I understand it can be a struggle to get out with other believers and do things and pray and learn from one another. This passage implores us not to give up meeting together and truly consider how we can spur one another on, all the more so as Christ’s return is coming closer.

I had the privilege today of attending a college-age group that meets after church and meeting other believers from all over the city. One was studying at the Art Institute, another was about to enter grad school for opera performance, another was from IIT. What a blessing to know that God has people all over Chicago. My classmates and I are hardly the only believers around!

Sharpen up (Proverbs 27:17). Go. Treasure time with other believers. Grow. Be equipped. Learn what it means to encourage one another in these dark days. See the light of God in others as you live life with them.

See Jesus in your brothers and sisters around you. I am blessed to say that I have.