“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 help 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 quickly broken.” — Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
When I was growing up, I attended 7 different schools during my 12 year public education. In addition to the usual transitions from Elementary to Middle School and finally High School, I also had to change schools because my family moved several times. I remember telling my parents that I was glad that I had been to so many different schools because it forced me to learn how to navigate new social environments and make friends everywhere I went. Although my high school, like most, had different cliques, I did not limit myself to just one main group of friends. I could sit down at any table in the lunch room and be with friends.
One thing I have found to be true as I grow older is that it becomes harder and harder for me to make and keep friends. It’s not that I’m in any way less sociable, but my life no longer revolves around spending time with my friends. I have other obligations and responsibilities that come first, and so do my buddies. I’m sure many of you can relate to the experience of trying to plan some time with a friend, only to find that neither of you are available at the same times. It can be very frustrating! I think this is part of the reason that over time our social circle has a tendency to narrow to just family and a few close friends.
One of the things that I absolutely love about the church, and SpiritLife in particular, is that it has extended my group of family and friends. I’m no longer limited to just one sibling (sorry, Sis!). Every week, I am living life with a bunch of brothers and sisters in Christ…worshipping, praying, teaching, learning, laughing & loving each other. These are people who are an important part of my life now that I may never have even met if it were not for this church!
Does this mean the church is nothing but a glorified religious social club? No, of course not! But it does make it much easier to develop relationships with others, especially the important relationships that make life much better and more fulfilling:
- Spiritual Fathers & Mothers — It is so important to have someone in your life that can be there to love and support you unconditionally, to share their wisdom and experience, and to nudge you in the right direction when you get off track.
- Companions & Prayer Warriors — We all need someone who will come alongside us and live in the trenches with us. These are the people that you can rely on to help, support, and cover you in prayer when life gets tough (and when isn’t it tough?!). They share in both your celebrations and your sorrows.
- Spiritual Sons & Daughters — Scripture teaches us that it is imperative for us to instruct and invest in the generations that are coming behind us. It falls to us to show them the way of righteousness. When you sow into the life a young person, you will rejoice in the harvest for years to come!
In our increasingly private, segmented culture, it can be easy to keep all of our relationships superficial. We stick to talking about sports, weather, kids, and cars. But I encourage you to engage on a deeper level. Yes, you will have to open yourself up. That can be uncomfortable, but the potential rewards are worth the risk. When you have a posse with you, life isn’t nearly so scary or overwhelming!
Prayer: Father, thank you for inviting us into your family and for the righteous men and women who have poured into our lives. Help us to love each other, just as you have loved us. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.