The Worth of Community: Ecclesiastes 4:8-12
January 5/6 | Jeff Manion
Life tells us the lie that we are better off alone, that in isolation we show our real strength. The writer of Ecclesiastes tells a very different tale. “Two are better than one.” “Three strands are not quickly broken.” The message is clear… we need one another. Life will inevitably bring calamity, but who will be there with you when it comes?
Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 NASB
There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, “And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?” This too is vanity and it is a grievous task.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
The Book of Ecclesiastes is, on the surface, a very straightforward Book with some very timely wisdom. This weeks passage is pretty self explanatory. What good is it to work your life away if you have no one to share your wealth with. I have never seen a hearse with a U-Haul. Then it explains the benefits of having a partner. Two people can accomplish more and make things easier than one can often do by themselves. I was a glazier by trade for many years. We often had to install large pieces of glass and mirrors. We would have very large sheets of glass that had to get from the shop to the job site. One person could not do it alone so we always had a partner. The above picture is the result of trying to transport large glass or mirrors on my own. (That explains a lot!) Having a partner carry glass from the truck to customers door made life simpler and safer. There was always that one issue that sometimes resulted in the same result as the above picture.
We needed someone to open the door!
The writer of Ecclesiastes ends this lesson by saying that a cord of three strands is not easily broken. Just as having a that helper to hold the door open can make a tough job easier, so having that third strand makes the cord stronger and more reliable.
As you may know by now, life is not always easy. We have to navigate so many things in life. Having a partner can help make difficult times more bearable. But as a follower of Jesus, we always have a partner. The God who created you and loves you also promised to be with you. Remembering that He is always with me is my problem. Going through life alone or even with a human partner will not have the eternal effects desired by God to bring me closer to Him without acknowledging Him. I must continually ask His help to remind me of why I was created in the first place, which is to have a relationship with Him. In 2019, I would like to resolve to stop asking Jesus to "Be with me", but ask for Him to remind me that He is always with me.