The Bagel Shop & Better Believers

For a few years, Tuesday was my favorite day of the week.  I know it sounds strange. Shouldn’t Friday be the day? I confess that now, it probably is.  Yet for a time, Tuesday was the day. Why did I love Tuesdays you are probably asking yourself?  I loved them because it was “Bagel Shop” day. At the time I lived almost 500 miles from home. I was a broke graduate school student who was homesick and covered up with homework, and in need of friends. So God gave me a friend who met with me on Tuesdays at the bagel shop.

Just after chapel, we would make our way to the historic downtown section of Wake Forest, NC, order our bagel, and spend some quality time talking.  Sometimes we talked theology. Sometimes we talked family. Sometimes we talked about the future and dreamed of changing the world.

There were times when I was down, and my friend would encourage me.  There were times when he struggled, and I would try to help him. When one needed encouragement, the other was quick to give it.  When one needed correction, the other provided that too. Pretty soon I noticed that as the friendship grew, I grew in some pretty important ways.  Slowly but surely I was becoming a better husband, student, and friend. I was becoming a better man during our Tuesdays at the bagel shop.

It makes sense when you think about it.  God calls us to live out our faith in the midst of a community.  How else can you explain all the “one another” passages in the New Testament.  As Christians we are called to love one another. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).”  We are to bear one another’s burdens. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2).”  We are to honor one another. “Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10).”  We are to live at peace with one another (1 Thess. 5:13).”  We are to instruct one another.  “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God (Col. 3:16).  We are to “serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13).”  God wants us to “be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32).”  He expects us to “encourage each other (1 Thess. 5:11).”  His will is that we help each other do good works.  “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:24).”

All of this is but a small sample of what God calls us to in the New Testament.  Yet it is enough to show how important Christian friends are to the maturity of our faith. There are not too many Tuesdays that go by when I do not think about the bagel shop and how God used a friend to change my life. When I think of it, I smile and thank God for the gift of friendship.

– Dr. Arnold, Head of School