This week I had breakfast with Fireman Sam.  I don’t know why I call him that, his name isn’t Sam but Robert, however he is a Fireman.  Robert and I have been friends for about a decade.  We did attend the same church however, we only really got to know each other once we became neighbours and lived opposite each other.

At that point in time Jane and I still fostered kids and as you can imagine our house was frequently charged with many challenges.   New into the street I often looked out our front window as I tried to strategically think how as a household we could move forward.  There across the street was Robert or Rab as his fellow firefighters call him working in his garage.  Seeing him and looking for a little escape from the household I would dander across and have a chat.  Often he would just listen as I went on a long rant and whilst I took time to breath he would speak Christ into the situation and offer to pray.

As our friendship deepened he began to challenge my sometimes unhelpful outlook, often asking the questions other friends wouldn’t.  Never out of condemnation and always wanting the best for me, he would direct the conversation to the scriptures, prayer and my walk with our King.

One of the God stories I love to tell is this.  Years later he shared that in the early days he felt God telling him to work out the front of the house in his garage and so out of obedience he did.  It was often then I would dander across and chat.  Out of his obedience Robert in that moment became God’s messenger and a life saver!

10 years later we still gather to drink coffee (or in his case hot chocolate – the big child!) talk about life and faith and of course dish out loads of banter.  Unlike yesteryear, it’s not as frequent as we would like but we do make the effort to connect.  When we do, God turns up, takes centre stage and is interwoven throughout our conversation.

Robert AKA Fireman Sam

Robert

I am lucky to have a small number of friends like this in my life.  As I reflect I wonder would my faith have developed anywhere near as fast or as deep without them.

In summary my point is this… who is speaking into your life? Do you have strong people of faith journeying with you? Who is keeping you growing in the faith and who is keeping you accountable to living the life God has planned for you?  If you don’t have people who do this with you and you for them then perhaps you should start to pray that the Lord would provide some.  Keep your eyes open and build friendships with people that centre on Christ.  Be intentional about befriending people who are more mature in their walk with the Lord than you.  Finally, always make and protect the space in your life for spiritual growth.