Strength In Numbers
I have had the privilege of getting to know many people in my short time here at Spencerport Wesleyan Church. I have had conversations with different people and heard stories of different life experiences. People have shared with me about their difficulty in life and their victory in Jesus. What is interesting is that while the particulars vary greatly from one person to the next, one of the biggest common elements between these accounts has been the need for companionship. When I say companionship I do not mean the kind that we receive from a spouse, a friend, or even a pet, I am referring the that which we receive from the body of Christ.
In Ecclesiastes, the writer notes this need. This is a man who has experienced the greatest of worldly pleasures, who has known the reaches of wisdom far beyond what most men and women can imagine. In spite of these things, or possibly because of them, he details the benefits of this companionship. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:9-12).
The author of that book, who many believe to be Solomon, speaks of something great than just company. Solomon had plenty of company with 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). That means he could have spent every day with a different woman for nearly three years without there being repetition. Yet with all of this company there was no companionship. These women did not build up Solomon in his faith in God; rather, they drew him away to worship their false gods. At the end of his life, the king realized the futility of everything and everyone that he had enjoyed, because he did so apart from God.
That is why there is such a precise biblical definition of this companionship, or what we as believers now call fellowship. Such a concept recognizes the need for Jesus Chris as we relate to one another. The truth is that we need one another. We are part of the family of God and he has brought us together for a reason, that we might build each other up and work together toward the accomplishment of the Great Commission. We cannot do this alone, however. We need to spend time with the body of Christ. We need to love one another, and we need to love God together.
A great calling has been placed upon all of our lives. As a result, we must walk together according to it. God knows that we each deal with difficulty. He also knows that we wrestle with temptation on a daily basis. That is why he gave us the body of Christ. We are the family of God. We rise together and we fall together. We struggle together and we overcome together. When we live as a body rather than just individuals, when one of us falls there won't just be one but many to lift him up. Just think, if a chord of three strands is not quickly broken, then it must be nearly impossible to break a chord of 100 or 500 or of thousands if not millions if we live in unity with the entire body of Christ. Let us be lifted up by this truth, which is that God loves us and he has blessed us with one another, so that we might remain faithful servants and children of his.