Life was meant to be lived in relationship with others. How are we creating intentional community in our home, office, and neighborhood? The Good News for some is that they are not alone.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (CEB)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.
Unpack it! Ecclesiastes is one of the five Old Testament books that we traditionally call “Wisdom Literature” (the others are Proverbs, Job, Psalms, and Song of Solomon). These books primarily get at the question: “How are we supposed to live the best life?” Ecclesiastes is strikes a different tone than the other books in this genre, as it tries to address the stark realities of a life that frequently feels unfair and impossible to understand. Ultimately, the voice of wisdom in Ecclesiastes points us to simple truths that can allow us to live joy-filled lives, regardless what circumstances we find ourselves in. This excerpt from Chapter 4 is a great example of Ecclesiastes short-and-to-the-point style. In essence, the author asks us, “Why would you try to survive this life alone? Don’t you know it is more than you can handle?”
Discussing the Text
This scripture is used frequently in wedding ceremonies to refer to the strength that spouses can offer one another. How does this scripture apply to friendships and relationships outside of marriage?
This passage talks about the difficulty of life lived in isolation without anyone to help us. Have you ever been in a position where you felt like you were isolated? Do you feel like you’re isolated in some way today? How can we support you and each other as Ecclesiastes suggests?
The three-ply cord mentioned in verse 12 has been interpreted to mean God’s inclusion in our relationships. How can God’s presence in a relationship (friendship/romantic/etc.) strengthen that relationship even further?
Questions for a Deeper Faith
Is it easy or hard for you to develop deep relationships with others? Why?
Why are relationships a vital part of the Christian faith?
In what ways do meaningful relationships increase the quality of your life?
Do you think all of your relationships need the foundation of a shared Christian faith? Why or why not?
What is one area in your life (home, work, neighborhood) where you need to invest more in those relationships? How can you begin that process this week?
Thank you for all of the different types of relationships you put in our life.
Teach us to live in relationship with one another in the same way you desire relationship with us.
May your love be on display for the world through our relationships with one another.
Help us as we seek to improve the relationships around us this week.