“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NASB
Chances are that if you’ve ever seen a real lighthouse in person or in pictures, it was standing tall and strong but at the same time all alone [read, “Standing Alone“] in a location that was deemed critical to the safety of seafarers. But, have you ever come across two lighthouses standing together side by side? Pictured above are two light towers known as Les Feux du Palais (The Lights of the Palace). They signal the entrance to The Port of Le Palais in Belle-Ile (Beautiful Island), Brittany, France. Surprisingly enough, they are not the only lighthouses built close to each other. There are quite a number of “twin” or “companion” lighthouses throughout the world. The Navesink Twin Lights (pictured below) are located in my home state of New Jersey. And yes, they are quite impressive!
The Navesink Twin Lights – Highland, New Jersey
Thatcher Island Twin Lights – Thatcher Island, Massachusetts
Grassy Island Range Lights – Greenbay, Wisconsin
I can only imagine what a comforting relief it would be to see a brightly shining light at a distance while sailing aimlessly in a dark and stormy sea. Then I think of how much more exciting it would be to see not just one, but two gleaming beacons!
Even though God’s desire is for us to have an intimate and personal relationship with Him, He also encourages us to build and maintain similar relationships with other fellow believers (lighthouses). That’s because we were not meant to do this life alone. We were created to have fellowship/companionship with God and with His people.
As individuals, God has empowered us (through his Holy Spirit) to shine the light of His salvation, to pray, worship, grow spiritually, and live in obedience to His word. But He has also gifted us with something that can greatly complement, strengthen, and reinforce those disciplines. It is the gift of Spiritual Companionship.
Would you agree that the benefits of genuine secular companionship extend far beyond what the dictionary defines as, “the good feeling that comes from being with someone else.“? I believe they should include commitment, trustworthiness, dependability, and sacrifice. Likewise, the benefits of spiritual companionship are more than just church fellowship and knowing that someone is praying for you. They should include those things that King Solomon alluded to in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, which are:
• Effectiveness and profitable results
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” v. 9
Even though we can all contribute to society individually and independently, the fact is that “no man is an island entire of itself.” In other words, no one is self-sufficient. Everyone relies on others in order to function/survive. In fact, the most productive, efficient, and rewarding results are experienced by those who work together to achieve a common goal; and this most certainly applies to believers serving in God’s kingdom (ministry). We can accomplish more and reap greater rewards when we are united in purpose and action.
• Physical, moral, and spiritual support
“If either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.” v. 10
It must be difficult not having someone to count on in times of physical need, or a shoulder to cry on when our hearts are broken, or someone to sustain us when the burdens of life weigh us down. I can only imagine the hopelessness and fear a person must experience if they injure themselves in a fall and have no one to assist them. Of course, God can supernaturally lift us up whenever we fall (emotionally, spiritually, and even physically), yet many of us fail to realize that most of the time He accomplishes this using supportive spiritual companions.
• Genuine care and comfort
“Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” v. 11
There are certainly a few things in life which we simply cannot do by ourselves, like have a party, get engaged, or play a competitive sport. And there are many other things that even though we could, we should never attempt to do alone. Our spiritual journey is definitely one of them. A healthy, productive, and fulfilling Christian life is easier to achieve when we can rely on faithful and caring spiritual companions. We need people in our lives that will not only admonish us when we veer off course but who will also embrace us and help us rekindle the fire of God when our hearts grow cold.
• Reliable backup and protection
“And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him.” v. 12a
Everyone faces challenges in this physical (fallen) world. But as Christians, we must also confront adversities in the spiritual realm. While many of these conflicts can be tackled with the disciplines we have gained over the years, others require the wisdom and experience of mature Christians who are more familiar with spiritual warfare. The Bible tells us that if we submit to God and resist the Devil he will flee from us (James 4:7), but the truth is that there will be times when we will actually struggle with the “submitting” part. That is when a spiritual companion can step in and help us fight and conquer our battles.
• Unity and strength
“A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” v. 12b
We should all be familiar with the phrase, “In unity there is strength.” Said concept is not just an inspiring proverb but a proven method for success and permanence, especially in our Christian walk. When we come together as believers and commit to helping each other grow spiritually, remain faithful to God, and fight against the powers of darkness, we invite the very presence of God’s Spirit to join us in our endeavor. And if two are better than one, then imagine how strong is the bond that is created when three come together in Spiritual Companionship.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, my life bends around the promise that you will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you for allowing me to experience your presence through worship, prayer, your word, and especially through the gift of spiritual companionship. And thank you for placing me alongside other lighthouses so that together we can shine brighter and light the way for those who are lost in a dark and lonesome world. Amen.
“If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” -1 John 1:7 NASB
“What we have seen and heard we declare to you so that you, too, can have fellowship with us. Now, this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus, the Messiah.” -1 John 1:3 ISV
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” -Galatians 6:2
“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” -Psalm 133:1
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” -Matthew 18:20
“And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” -1 Thessalonians 5:14
ALL SCRIPTURE IS QUOTED FROM THE NIV EXCEPT WHERE SPECIFIED.