“Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls; For he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NKJV)
I don’t like to be alone. Now, don’t misunderstand, there are times when silence is a welcomed friend. But generally speaking, loneliness and being by yourself is not much fun! There are lots of lonely people living in crowded cities all across this country and around the world.
King Solomon describes the benefits of having someone who is viewed as a companion, close friend, spouse … one that is interested in our best interest. In fact, this passage is often used in wedding ceremonies to emphasize the value of being married and of having and being supportive of each other.
There is an old Jewish proverb that says, “A friendless man is like a left hand bereft of the right.” Regardless of talent, having only one hand lessens productivity. When the use of both hands is available … the work is made easier to take care of.
When speaking of companionship … friendship … even fellowship … how much more efficient is it when two people are on the same page working in tandem.
The wise writer of Ecclesiastes moves on his teaching to the fact that if trouble should arise along the path … which could mean the path of marriage or the path of life or even just the path of relationships … that when something unpleasant or dangerous occurs, one is there to lift and help the other to a better place!
If you have ever been working on a project around the house or in the garage … there are occasions when something happens … and you are all alone … which translates into trouble!
Case in point: I was changing the oil on an old Honda Accord that the kids were driving when the car slipped off of the jack. Fortunately, it only landed less than an inch from my chest. I hollered … yelled … and tried to make as much noise as possible to get the attention of my family inside. With the noise of the TV … stereo … needless to say I lay there for what seemed an eternity before finally someone came out and I was able to tell them how to set the jack back up!
The wise man’s point is that “no man is an island entire of itself.” The Lord knew even back in the Garden that “it was not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) He knew we needed others!
But it is especially relevant to each of us to understand the value of having a spouse, a friend, a brother or sister in Christ … who can and will do all that they can in order to help us get to Heaven … our ultimate desire and expectation!
Oh, I have been so very blessed with a family that loves and cares about me and is not shy in helping me live a life that is pleasing to God and helpful to others! I have also been very blessed with having a number of friends … several of whom that seem to know me better than others … who … like me … want to help the other get to Heaven!
I am reminded of the passage the wise man penned in Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” One of my uncles was an accomplished butcher in his own meat market. It was fascinating to watch him work with knives and other tools, always keeping them sharp so as to be more efficient!
The wise man is instructing us in the value of having around us those who help us improve … and sharpen us in the manner of life that we are living! It is actually difficult to place a premium on a relationship that strengthens and encourages us to do better … to be better … to be more pleasing to the Lord!
We speak often to our young about the value of choosing good companions and will usually quote from 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company ruins good morals.” (ESV)
These are not warnings exclusively for the young … they are for all of us regardless of our age, social status, etc.! The inspired writer is telling us that association with the wrong people will corrupt our character and our everyday conduct!
We have all had our times when we make mistakes that we deeply regret (Romans 3:23)! We know don’t we … those times when those occasions arise that can be potential landmines … those times when we could easily fall prey and stumble losing our spiritual footing … and end up falling flat on our faces!
WE ALL NEED a companion that will lift us up and encourage us … who will sharpen our spiritual awareness … who will keep us from becoming too beat up and bruised … from being lost! WE ALL NEED those friends who quite frankly will not walk away or leave us hanging … but will strive with all the strength they can muster to help us get back up on our feet! Are you listening?
The real companion of life … the real friend of life … the real brother or sister in Christ has one purpose and goal … and that goal is Heaven! If those you choose to be around or with are not helping you grow in your faith and service to God … please be mindful of the warnings God gives us! This is how important it is to be selective about those we choose to run around with … marry … establish friendships with!
What is most interesting about this passage of Scripture is the “..:threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NKJV) If one individual and another individual make a twofold cord … the threefold cord must be by inference God Almighty! If God is not placed first in every aspect of our lives … He will never be happy with second place!
Sharing our successes and our sorrows (Romans 12:15) provides us with a greater sense of encouragement … being of “one mind” is to be so edifying! As a matter of fact, this, my friends is exactly how we have been called to live in this old world by none other than our heavenly Father!
My friends … life is short … death is sure … and the Judgment is certain!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.