If a friend sticks closer than a brother, why is it so many people are satisfied with being servants of the Lord rather than yearning for a deep friendship with God? Perhaps it is because Jesus spoke so highly of His servants. “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor” (John 12:26). If someone sees the Master, they often see the servant. They are acknowledged by others as faithful and important to their Lord. Although they are in a position of humility, they are rarely overlooked.

These attributes of a servant are so respectable that many are left to wonder how much higher a friendship could take them. They may naturally assume with a higher position must come higher honor. This may include greater blessings from God and man. Their face may even radiate as did Moses, to show evidence of their new sacred companionship with the Lord. Eventually though, they begin to realize that their ideas of what a friend looks like may be different from their Lord’s. As a result, they may begin to covet the life of a servant over the life of a friend. They don’t understand the true calling of friendship as described by John the Baptist.

The one who gets the bride is, by definition, the bridegroom. And the bridegroom’s friend, his ‘best man’ — that’s me — in place at his side where he can hear every word, is genuinely happy. How could he be jealous when he knows that the wedding is finished and the marriage is off to a good start? “That’s why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. (John 3:29-30).

Many have tried to be a friend but experienced unfulfilled expectations. Perhaps it was because they were trying to be the bride rather than the best man. Maybe they wanted to be noticed and acknowledged. This does not always stem from pride but because they mistakenly think the wedding is about them. What they fail to see, according to the passage, is the amazing position that God has called them; to be by their Master’s side as His best man. Of any person He could have chosen, He chose them to share in the significant moments of His life. That is why John said his cup runs over, why he was filled with joy, because he saw and heard the happiness of his Lord at an important time in history.

A servant is not allowed such a moment as this. It is saved only for friends; friends who are willing to see others happiness over their own; friends who are willing to just watch, listen, and support. Such friends will not follow behind as a servant but stick closer than a brother during this critical time in history.