What Old Testament Survey Taught Me About Friendship

Categories: For the Soul, Student Stories, Uncategorized

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Jenessa Joy Klukas is a first-year Worship Arts student.  She blogs at creativityandjoy.com

I had a lot of expectations going into college this past fall – I was a nineteen-year-old girl from a small town living on her own for the first time ever.  I had no doubt that Columbia was the right choice of college for me, and there were many things that I was expecting to learn through book learning and through life experiences. I remember walking onto the Columbia campus my first day terrified but exhilarated.

On this beautiful campus I have experienced many things, things that I did and did not expect. In my first semester of college I’d like to think I’ve learned a lot – but to be honest, it’s probably not as much as I think I have. I can tell you a lot about taking the bus system in Abbotsford now, I can tell you about where to eat in the cafeteria, I can recite passages of Scripture I couldn’t before, I’ve read a lot books.  And I can tell you about Contract and Covenant Friendships.

Jenessa blog

I learned a lot about friendship in my first semester, like how hard it is to make friends sometimes, and how natural it is at others. Life lessons on friendship in college is something I know is normal and natural – I was expecting these lessons on friendship.

 I wasn’t expecting to learn some of these friendship lessons in my Tuesday Old Testament Survey Class with Ken Esau.

Now, the Old Testament is jam packed full of relationship and friendship stories – I guess maybe I should have realized I would learn some lessons about how to conduct friendships in this class. But that didn’t occur to me.  I thought we would unpack a lot of the relevance and theology of the Old Testament, which we did!

It was during our study of Stage #3 of the Old Testament (the Ancestral stage, in case you’re wondering) when we were learning about Abram and Sarai that I began to learn about types of relationships.

You see, there are two types of relationships. Contract Relationships and Covenantal Relationships.

A contract relationship is a relationship that is based solely on what the other can offer you and in turn what you can offer them. This could be anything. Wealth, Starbucks drinks, intimacy, etc.  A contract relationship is based on the fair exchange of the merchandise (whatever that may be), and if one person fails to deliver the contract relationship is over. This sort of relationship can be very short lived. It is easy to have a contract relationship, and really you can have a contractual relationship with anyone. The teller at the grocery store? Yeah, that’s a great example of a contract relationship. You say hi and smile, they say hi back and smile. They scan your food, and you pay. Then you leave, you might not ever see them again. And that’s okay. The relationship is over…you no longer need each other.

OT Survey helped me realize even long-term friendships can be contractual.  Maybe a “friend” of yours became your friend because you were best friends with someone they wanted to be close to. Or maybe a “friend” became your friend because you could fix their computer, or maybe because you had a car to drive them places…but what if your car broke? Would they still be your friend? No? That’s a contract relationship.

A Covenant Friendship is completely different. It’s polar opposite to a contract relationship. A Covenant Relationship is when you commit yourself to stay with the other person through anything. This type of relationship is life or death. You would stick with them until the very end, even if they treat you unfairly. Whether this be a marriage, a friendship, a relationship between siblings, or parents…a covenantal relationship is what we should all strive for.

As Christians we are called to love one another, the Bible tells us that love should be a permanent. Our permanent calling in life is to love each other, fill the earth, and bring glory to our Father in Heaven. We are called to Covenant Relationships and Friendships with each other and our Father in Heaven.

Today I set this challenge before you to love one another and establish covenant friendships. It is possible. Care for others, love one another, and keep on with friendship. I know it’s hard to love others sometimes– I’ve struggled with it too. But with God’s help we can do it.

Blessings, Smiles,
Prayers, and Music!!
Jenessa Joy

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant[b] does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:12-15 English Standard Version (ESV)