It Takes Two
Two are better than one, because they have a 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. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Sports writer, and columnist Rick Reilly gave this advice to rookie professional football players: "Stop thumping your chest. The line blocked, the quarterback threw you a perfect spiral while getting his head knocked off, and the good receiver blew the double coverage. Get over yourself." The all time great John Wooden who coached the UCLA basketball program for 27 years, and led them to ten national championships during his last 12 years famously said: "It takes ten hands to make a basket."
The message coming out of these two sporting quotes is a biblical one, namely, two is better than one (Eccles. 4:9-12). Teams outperform individuals. More is accomplished in cooperation with others. None of us are our best selves by ourselves. None of us can take full credit for what we have become or done. The wisdom of God's word, and the facts of life teach us that life is a team sport, a shared experience. No man is an island to himself. The book of Genesis tells us that God created us to exist, and excel in community with each other (Gen 2:18). From heaven's perspective, life on earth was never meant to be a solo performance. We were all created in the image of a Triune God who exists in community, Father, Son, and Spirit (Gen. 1:26-27). Consequently, God has rigged life so that we cannot be our true selves apart from others. The need for someone is the need of everyone. That is why loneliness is a killer. That is why friendship, and human companionship is an elixir to life.
In a chapter describing a world burdened by cruel oppression (vv. 1-3), exhausting work (vv. 4-6), and fleeting popularity (vv. 7-8), Solomon reminds us of the need for, and benefits of human friendship, and partnership (Eccles. 4:1-12). Such a world must be faced in the company and comfort of others. When it comes to riches, more is not better, but when it comes to human relationships more is better (Eccles. 4:6, 9-12). Solomon would remind us that no man is poor who is rich in friendships. He says that because other people make us more productive (Eccles. 4:9); other people prove to be a great help in times of stress and distress (Eccles. 4:10); other people insulate us against a cold world (Eccles. 4:11); and other people provide protection against the dangers that life poses (Eccles. 4:12). There is safety, strength, and synergy in numbers. Two is better than one, and three is better than two (Eccles. 4:9, 12). Wisdom embraces a "theology of we" and rejects the "heresy of me."
Realizing that it takes two or more to win out in life, we need to commit ourselves to certain things. First, we need to fight the rugged individualism that too often marks the American culture (Phil. 2:4). Second, we need to appreciate the purpose, and blessing of marriage (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 18:22). Third, we need to cultivate friendships, and treasure our friends (Prov. 17:17). Fourth, we need to connect more closely with the body of Christ, the church (Heb. 10:24-25). Fifth, we need to reach out to the lonely, and the fallen among us (Luke 10:25-37). Blazing your own trail is a dead end street! None of us is the complete package we need others to complete us. Get over yourself!