Relationships don’t create themselves. They take work and commitment. Investment is essential to have a healthy and effective relationship. In some cases, we are fortunate enough to have relationships that take very little work. However, those relationships generally have a history of a great deal of investment, commitment, and time, that leaves each person soundly convinced of the strength and longevity of their commitment. Those are the relationships in which we can look back and examine how they came to be and what they are today. Not all relationships have those qualities or to such a degree. Most are ongoing and require sacrifice to grow and enjoy sustainability.
One of my best girlfriends was moving out of state. She was leaving me to follow her husband to a new job. Go figure! I saw it coming as he searched and searched for what God had planned for him. I was happy for them, but grieved what it would mean to me.
Brenda and I had met about 10 years earlier. She was a recent high school graduate and the sister of one of my son’s friends. Our relationship however, did not begin to take shape until about four years later when we each found ourselves enrolled in the same program at the local community college. From that day forward we were nearly “connected at the hip.” We rode to school together, studied together and enjoyed girl time together. It was an unlikely pairing but once the spark ignited, we never looked back. Brenda is 40 years my junior.
When Brenda left, I was sad, and grieved the loss before my Lord. The pain was real. My mother and step-father had been living in a different state for about 10 years and were returning to our town. I knew she would be around, and took our relationship for granted. I mean, she is my mother for crying out loud. But what I began to realize was that not even that bond makes people friends.
Shortly after my folks returned they were called away on a mission trip to Romania. Again I struggled with the loss of them being near. It was at that point that I began to pray about the whole “friend” issue with serious fervor. I needed to know what to do, where I had failed, and how God would heal the emptiness inside from the losses I was experiencing.
What He revealed to me over the following weeks seems so simple and basic, but I had clearly failed to consider them.
Dallas Willard, in his work entitled, The Divine Conspiracy, offers the following.
How beautiful it is to see relationships in which asking and receiving
are a joyful and loving way of life. Often we see those who cherish
one another each seriously or playfully trying to out give the other.
That is how relationships should be. 
The key here is the reciprocity of friendship. Asking and receiving, giving and taking. Of course that seems elementary because it is so basic. But in the busyness of my life I had forgotten that relationships don’t just happen. Relationships require commitment and investment.
Investing in others is truly valuable and necessary. We can’t expect a relationship to flourish and grow without investment. We must invest time and concern while learning about the other person. In the process we will find common ground; sometimes more and sometimes less. All relationships are not the same.
Biblically speaking this is true as well. God commands us to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). All friendships will not yield the intensity or closeness that others do. Although He loved all of His disciples, the Bible refers to John as “the one Jesus loved” (John 13:23). The good news is that when we make a significant investment in others, really get to know their hearts and minds, we are rewarded with a relationship that will give us joy, support, and comfort.
In the community of Christ, our relationships are very important as we all strive to fulfill our commission in Christ. As we support each other, with our feet planted squarely in the foundation of Jesus and Him crucified, we are enabled and supported to fulfill our calling, both individually and as a part of the whole. Relationships enable us to be who God has called us to be. It begins with our relationship with Him. He makes the difference.
So back to where we began…in order for my relationship to be vital and fulfilling, I had to invest. I had been so accustomed to my mother being away and communicating with her primarily via email, my relationship skills were sorely in need of renovation. I considered having my mom back in my neighborhood very comforting and a blessing, but I noticed we rarely saw each other. She was busy with getting her “stuff” done after a huge move and I was busy with, well, whatever I was always busy with…my own agenda. I felt very convicted and realized that I had to nurture the relationship with her, just as I would with someone I wanted to have a friendship with.
What followed was the start of our “Friday morning coffee date.” We meet at a local coffee shop and enjoy a latté together. We chat and catch up with no time restraint and without distraction. It is our time, and I am hooked. God has taught me through such a simple concept as “making time,” that the principles are the same regardless of who we are pursuing a relationship with. We must invest our time and practice the reciprocity that creates those terrific bonds of the heart that God ordained. It’s all about relationships.
 Willard, p. 234