Welcome to the fourth post in the Friends & Christianity series. Today we are going to look at The One with George Stephanopoulos. Ironically, Ross says in the first scene that it is October 20th and, though this is scheduled to post on the 21st, I am writing on the 20th. Sorry, that has nothing to do with today’s topic, but I thought it was rather neat. 🙂
Usually, these posts have taken on a listicle style, enumerating the ways we can be better friends as related to some of the biblical values in the show. Today I want to hone in on one topic, but let me give a brief synopsis of what is going on in this episode first.
Rachel is excited at receiving her first paycheck; but when she opens it, the amount she actually gets to take home is much smaller than she imagined (darn FICO). Just as she receives this blow, her friends from her rich-girl days stop in to see how she is doing. Their arms are laden with shopping bags, they have engagement news, promotion news, etc. To Rachel their lives seem to be going just as she had always planned for hers to go—only, her life had taken a sharp right after leaving Barry at the altar and cutting herself off from her parents’ financial support. She’s standing on her own two feet—an achievement she has been proud of, up until this moment when she sees her two feet aren’t standing in as nice of a position as her friends’ feet.
That night, Monica, Phoebe, and Rachel have a girl’s night sleepover. Monica and Phoebe are excited, but Rachel is on the brink of breaking down. They get to talking about life. Monica tries to cheer Rachel up by reminding her of the accomplishment she made at stepping out into the world on her own, assuring her that everything will eventually come together. And Phoebe adds an anecdote about Jack and his magic beans.
“What if it doesn’t come together?” Rachel asks them. “What if we don’t get magic beans? What if all we’ve got are just beans?”
This comment brings all three girls down. None of them have a plan for their lives. None of them are where they imagined they would be. What if everything doesn’t just come together for them as it seems to have come together for their old high school friends?
I don’t know about you, but I have felt this way on more than one occasion. I’ve stepped out into this world to try and “make it” as a writer. The journey has been far from easy or glamorous or largely successful. Some days I wonder,
“What if it never comes together? What if I don’t have magic beans? What if I’ve just got beans?”
The girls continue their night, eventually loosening up and just talking and having fun. Then the boys come home, after taking Ross to the emergency room when he is hit in the nose by a hockey puck, and they play twister. A phone call comes, it’s Visa again. Visa had called earlier when Rachel was at a low moment, and Monica told them Rachel wasn’t in. This time Rachel takes the call. Visa wants to make sure everything is all right. There hasn’t been activity on the card lately. Rachel looks on at her friends, who are still playing and says,
“Oh, well, thanks, but, I’m okay, really…I’ve got magic beans…”
This made me realize a truth that is found in the Truth (Bible), it is not how much money we make or what title or awards we achieve that makes our lives a success. What marks true success is our relationships. Our relationship with God and with others—our friends, neighbors, and even our enemies. Titles get replaced, awards tarnish, money comes and goes, but our relationships, if invested in properly and lived out in love can last much longer than one earthly lifetime. And we don’t leave them behind when we die, they live in us, we can take our relational bank from this life to the next.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22:37-40 NLT
God gives us commandments and directions and guidance to help us to be able to truly live and have an abundance of joy and peace and strength in our lives. Everyone of his commandments and directions and guidance are all summed up in love. Love of God and love of others.
If everything in life is making you question whether or not you will ever “make it.” Stop looking at awards, achievements, and bank accounts. All these things are good, but they mean nothing without the love of God and the love of friends.
Strive to achieve and do as much good as you can, but make sure that you know where and who are your true magic beans, and invest in them.