The Humility of Friendship

The Contrast, Youth & Age by John Callcot Horsley

"Therefore, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:4

The young and the old have spent an afternoon together. Perhaps they have been walking and now he is returning her to home. He is a perfect gentleman - seeing her to the door and tipping his hat. Perhaps she has been reading to him, for there is a large book under her arm. They are both sober as they give each other parting looks. They definitely need to part company, yet there is a lovely friendship lingering between them. They are a complement to one another. She is full of the freshness of youth. There is color and life in her face and clothing. There is energy in her, even as she prepares to part company and is at a pause. She carries in her face the wisdom of having been with her dear friend.

The older man has the ruddy face of one who has been exposed - exposed to the wind and rain and sun -- exposed to life. In contrast to her pink, his attire is earth tone drab. It's functional and practical. His walking stick is so practical compared with the colorful cloth bag hanging from her sleeve. As a child, there is a humility that bows to age and as a gentleman there is a humility like that of a child.

They illustrate the gift God gives us in friendships with others that are a different age or color or gender. Each in their own way becomes a complement to our own life making it richer and more complete. If we do not open ourselves to enjoy the young and the old, the rich or the poor, the African or the Chinese, we will miss out on the depth of love that can flow between two such opposites. It requires of us the humility of Christ-- always looks upon others as better than ourselves. With this humility manifested in our life, we can look upon every man or woman as someone God sends to teach us more about life.

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