Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Benefits of Fellowship

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to pick him up! Also if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken."

When I was a substance abuse therapist often I would talk to my clients about the dangers of isolation. It is not only dangers for one in recovery-- Isolation is dangerous for all believers. I am not talking about being alone. There is a difference between being alone and being isolated. When you are alone it means you are spending time by yourself. Some days when my husband gets home from work and I have had my fill of things. Typically going for a walk by myself or a trip to the store by myself will satisfy this. We all need time alone to re-group and refresh. That is not what I am referring to as dangerous.

Isolation is shutting others out of your life until you have shut most everyone off. It can mean to stop talking to anyone about anything or can mean simply that you stop letting those close to you know what is going on inside of you and push them away. There is a big difference. In my last article I talked about the Lord commanding us to meet together more. Isolation is doing the direct opposite-- it is stopping meeting together.

Why does the Lord tell us to meet together? The answers lie in Ecclesiastes 4. First it says that two get bettere return for their work. This is true. I think about my husband's mowing business. The day he has his hired guy working with him they get more than twice the work done on those days. When two people work together on something all the God-given energy works like synergy to get things done more efficiently. There is more creativity, more physical strength, more mental strength. This passage also indicates that it is safer to work together as well. If one falls down the other can help him up or call for 911. Think about how sad it would be to not have someone there to pick you up. Two also keep each other warm. I think this is referring to more than just physical warmth. I think it is also referring to emotional and spiritual warmth as well. I know there are days I get terribly discouraged and a good talk with a Christian friend can help encourage me. That is a form of this warmth. Think about the safety in numbers. We have all seen documentaries where an animal gets separated from the pack and is then vulnerable to attack. Then the animal is attacked. If the animal had only been able to stay with the pack he/she would not have been nearly so vulnerable to attack. Finally the passage says that a cord of three strand is not easily broken. So if we have the Lord with us we have the added protection from him. We are not vulnerable to attack because the Lord is holding us together and he is the one that provides the extra strength.

We need to trust the Lord, truly fellowship with others and remember who the source of our strength comes from.

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