Thursday, August 24, 2023

Two Are Better Than One (Ecclesiastes 4:7-16)

"… woe to him who is alone when he falls" (Eccl. 4:10).

Aristotle once wrote, “Whosoever delights in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” Commenting on Aristotle, Francis Bacon said, “To man—such as man is—friendship is indispensable to happiness; and that one, who has no need, and feels no need of it, must be either much above human nature or much below it.”

As Solomon surveys the vanity of the world, he observes that the weariness of life is much relieved by friendship. “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor” (Eccl. 4:9). In the beginning God declared that it is not good for man to be alone. If this was so in paradise, how much more after the Fall? Whether we admit it or not, each of us needs encouragement, prayer, correction, and comfort. Jesus did not send His disciples into the world alone, but He sent them in pairs. Neither should we seek to maneuver through the swirling currents of life alone.

Charles Bridges said this principle is especially true for the Christian. He reminds us that “the most lively [Christian] left alone is in danger of waxing cold in selfishness.… This principle also rebukes the religious solitaire—that isolated being, who belongs to no church because no church is perfect enough for him.… Surely it is better to belong to an imperfect (not heretical) church, than to none; better to ‘continue steadfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers’ (Acts 2:42); not only ‘first giving up our own selves to the Lord,’ but ‘unto’ the whole body of the church ‘by the will of God’ (2 Cor. 8:5) … Each of us has something to impart, to prevent discouragement—to receive, to teach us humility. The receiver is united to the giver by gratitude—the giver to the receiver by tender compassion.

“Oh! let us ponder well the deep responsibility of our social obligations. Are we discharging them as unto the Lord—for the honor of His name, and for the edifying and increase of His church? Did we but pray for each other as we ought, what a brotherhood would the family of man be! The time is short. Opportunities are passing away. Happy are those, who have been fellow-helpers upon earth! They shall rejoice before their gracious Lord with joy unspeakable—uninterrupted—without abatement—without end.”

Do you like to fellowship with God’s people? If not, think about why that is. What does God have to say about your need for friendship? Read 1 John 4:7–21. What does this passage say about how a Christian should treat his brother in Christ? Do you have the kind of love for others as is described in this passage? How do you show it?