There is Strength in Numbers

June 26, 2009

     The book of Ecclesiastes is believed to have been written by King Solomon, who was given exceptional wisdom by the Lord God. Because Solomon asked for wisdom and not great wealth, God allowed him to prosper and became one of the richest kings ever. The book of Ecclesiastes was written very late in his life. In this book he gives advice to the reader about many different aspects of life. He was uniquely qualified to do this because he had the money to buy any thing his heart desired, which he did. This book tells us what is important and what is not important in our travel through life.

     In Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, we read the following:

     “Two are better than one, because they have 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. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

     There are many lessons that can be derived from these four verses. From a physical stand point, we can see the value of this advice. One of the greatest fears older people have is that they will fall and hurt themselves with no one to get help. I have known some to fall and lay in the floor for hours until someone comes to help them. I have been at hotels in large cities that have signs in the room that warns you not to go out at night alone, which indicates there is safety in numbers. I have also heard of people that got lost in the winter and survived because they used their companion’s body heat to survive.

     More important than the physical things, is to apply this same advice to our spiritual lives. God in his infinite wisdom knew Christians need other Christians to support them as they go through trials and tribulations of trying to serve Him and live a good Christian life.

     This reminds me of a story. There was an old elder, who on a cold winter day, went to visit a member of the congregation he shepherded. This member had not been in attendance for several weeks. During the visit the member said he could get more out of the Bible by studying it at home by himself. The old elder tried to explain to him by coming together we encourage and exhort one another. The member said he did not need that. The old elder thought for a minute, he took a poker and raked away a hot glowing coal from the fireplace. In a short time, the cherry red coal became cold and gray.  As long as this coal was with the other coals it stayed cherry red and hot, but when it was removed from the other coals it quickly became cold. When Christians remove themselves from their brothers and sisters in Christ they become cold spiritually. The importance of this concept is found in Hebrews 10: 24-25. “And let us consider one another in order to stir love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

     God knew that trying to live the Christian life would not be easy. He knew if we are to succeed, we will have to have the support and encouragement of our brothers and sisters.

     The book of Ecclesiastes is full of wonderful advice as to what is important in our life, and what is worthless. I encourage everyone to spend some time studying this wonderful book that God has given us.

–Don Adair

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