The Gift of Companionship
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Scripture: Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 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. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NKJV)
Observation: The author of Ecclesiastes, believed to be King Solomon, thinks about what loneliness is and what it does. The context suggests that he is describing someone who is so consumed by his work, he is incapable of making or keeping close relationships. Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, once wrote, ‘What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden, but this: I have only my own burden to bear.’1
Solomon then highlights the effects of such loneliness by contrasting them with the joys of having someone by our side (v. 9). In some cases a person cannot work alone, for they need “another pair of hands.” An ancient Jewish proverb says, “A friendless man is like the left hand bereft of the right.” Success is something to be shared.
Solomon also speaks of the warmth of human relationships. His picture is very practical (v. 11). This can obviously be seen as a reference to marriage, but it must be noted that travelers often slept together on cold nights. Towards the end of his life, Solomon’s father, David, slept with the virgin Abishag simply for the warmth of her body.
The last verse of this series focuses on protection (v. 12). For travelers at that time, it was advisable to have someone with whom to travel. Lone travelers were easy prey to robbers. . . Like in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37).
Application: Success is meaningless when it becomes all consuming. Think of the politician or businessman who rises to the top of his profession, only to realize that he has lost his family in the process, or a person consumed by his hobbies to the extent where the family is pushed out. George Eliot described a best friend as “a well-spring in the wilderness.”
From the marriage point of view, God designed that man should not be alone and thus created an equal companion for Adam. One of the goals or purposes of marriage is the companionship, the friendship that two people can offer each other. For the unmarried, friendship is also important and we must seek such company, not just for our benefit but in order to be of benefit to someone else’s life. One of the interesting things, though, is that many live with the marital fence close to them and they imagine the grass would be so much greener on the other side. Some who are married wish they could be single, and some who are single wish they would be married! What these passages should teach us is the value of true friendship. In marriage, your spouse should be your best friend. If unmarried, treasure the true friends in your life.
A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You for the gift of friendship and companionship. Bless us with that true friend in our lives.
Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.