You may have seen your kids or grandkids use BFF at the end of a text message. The BFF abbreviation simply means Best Friends Forever.  Last week I lost a spiritual mentor, a ministry partner and a caring friend, Tony Hostetler. If you were around Tony for very long, you would be convinced that he was your best friend and God’s best friend.


Tony loved God and loved people. He fully lived out the answer Jesus gave to an inquiring seeker who asked which part of all the collection of religious writings, thoughts and Holy Scriptures was the pinnacle of importance?  Jesus responded. “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40).

When you were around Tony, you quickly got the impression he was tight with God. He understood that any of us are as close to God as we choose to be. Like any friendship, you must work at developing your friendship with God. It won’t happen by accident. It takes desire, time and energy. Tony made an intentional decision to start his friendship with God through meeting Billy Graham in 1950. For the next 62 years, Tony made getting to know God his top priority. Intimate friendship with God is a choice, not a coincidence. Tony wanted that relationship with God more than anything else in the world. And he developed the habits needed to nurture that relationship to BFF status.

In the 26+ years that I rubbed shoulders with Tony, I admired the way he made everyone feel he was their best friend. It wasn’t in an artificial salesperson kind of way. It was authentic and from the heart. Tony loved people with the same measure of love he received from his relationship with God. He accepted people just as they came to him. He didn’t judge them. And he offered grace without any conditions. Tony simply represented God—because he knew Him so intimately.

Tony’s passing reminds me to continue to make loving God and loving people my highest value. How about you? Are you being intentional about building your friendship with God? Are you investing regularly in your relationships with others?

QUESTION: What have you discovered to be one of the best ways to nurture your friendships?  Please share your comment below.

5 responses to Best Friends Forever

  1. Cindy Burke on October 15, 2012 at 6:04 PM Reply

    I have found that being genuine with your friends and being a good listener are very important, and just show them love and caring. Be there for them when they need you, and do not expect anything in return. Tony exemplified this kind of friendship and love toward others.

  2. Marilyn on October 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM Reply

    Not enough. I find time is filled, but have now made a commitment to do less and find more time for family and friends…and my relationship with my God. Your questions are always very thought provoking.

  3. Lilliam Gonzalez on October 15, 2012 at 6:54 AM Reply

    Pastor Dennis,thank you for sharing. He truly was a very, very special person. So blessed to know him.

  4. Matthew Harkness on October 15, 2012 at 6:37 AM Reply

    should be quality vs quantity (auto correct is a pain sometimes)

  5. Matthew Harkness on October 15, 2012 at 6:34 AM Reply

    Dennis, Thanks for the great post. Tony was a great man! What most impressed me about him was his warmth and genuine interest in others. Nurturing friendships can be tough for me at times with the hectic pace of life. I do find I try to be more selective and focus on quality of quantity.

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