“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 not quickly broken.
Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice. For he went from prison to the throne, though his own kingdom he had been born poor. I saw all the living who move about under the sun, along with that youth who was to stand in the king’s place. There was no end of all the people, all of whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a striving after wind (Ecclesiastes 4:9-16).
I have been putting off writing this, partially because I was afraid it would end up being a little controversial due to the upcoming presidential election. I am also in no hurry to tackle Ecclesiastes 5, as it will be very humbling to unpack! However, today, a friend posted something on Facebook along the lines of where I wanted to take this, which served as my encouragement to “Get ‘er done”.
It’s interesting to consider where my life could have gone. My college fiancée and I were very involved in student government and local politics. I was on the path to become a politician’s wife! I am grateful that God had other plans for me at that time, even though I wasn’t actively seeking Him. Looking at my beliefs now, that lifestyle would have been disastrous!
I’m not very politically savvy, and I do not really identify with a political party. I see politicians as highly fallible, as “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I support small government, and personal responsibility, rather than increased legislation. I cringe when a new law is made whenever something bad happens because a citizen failed to consider the consequences of their actions. I believe our moral authority should come from Christ, not lobbyists or legal precedence. I believe in the role of community to meet the needs of society, rather than social programs, which are easily manipulated and corrupted.
The importance of community is what I take from this passage. Everyone needs someone else to pick them up when they’re down, to provide warmth when they’re cold, to fight side by side against common enemies. Government can only do so much, as it is not Christ-centered. We should form authentic relationships to meet the needs of others, and to put those needs ahead of our own. That’s the biblical definition of marriage, but perhaps it should be taken further, towards all humanity. If all Christians attempted to model Jesus’ love towards others, our societal problems may be reduced. Sure, it wouldn’t be perfect, as we live in a fallen world, and there will always be people who take advantage of others, but it’s an ideal worth striving for. God showed His mercy for me by sending His son to die for my sins; the least I can do is offer that same grace to other people in the world!
We will never solve all of society’s problems, but as Christians, that’s not what’s important. Our charge is to love God and love others, and even though it may seem our individual efforts are futile, God is watching our actions and knows our hearts. We are to live our lives to glorify Him and that includes sharing His love with the world.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to those who were near. For through him we have both access to one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:14-22).”