Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Reward, Lifting Up, Keeping Warm, Not Quickly Broken

Ecclesiastes 4

(v. 9) "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil."

In your life, you are going to work. Not just your job or vocation--where ever it may be. (I see my precious bride homeschooling our children an managing our home and see the great work she has and does.) Your life is going to be toil. The burdens of the life you live will get heavy. You will get tired. Your mind is going to be, at times, overwhelmed with the pressure you are facing. The sad fact is, you are going to be tempted to keep that burden to yourself. You will be tempted to go off doing what you do by yourself.

How joyful it is to walk through life with someone else who helps you in your "work." When I sit in the presence of other brothers in Christ that love me and care for my well-being, I bask in the good reward of being with others who make "the work" lighter and bring a greater reward.

You were made for friendship. You were made to be in the care of other men and women who love Jesus and who will love you.

(v. 10) "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!"

The truth of this life is not "if" you fall, it is "when" you fall. Life is designed and our enemy is working with purpose to kick the snot out of us. It is a sad thing to fall down and be all alone with no help.

How glorious to have a brother beside you that kneels down to the place where you have fallen and grabs you around the waist and gloriously lifts you up. Who dusts you off. Who looks you in the eye and mercifully says, "It is going to be alright. I am right here beside you. I will not leave you."

I praise God for those brothers who have lifted me up. I praise God for Christ who sticks closer than a brother.

(v. 11) "Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?"

I have noticed that even though I live in South Georgia--which is not nearly as cold as Louisville or Indianapolis--I can get "cold." The winds of trouble and difficulty and persecution can blow and swirl around my life and chill my mind and my soul. I look for comfort. I look for warmth. It can not be found when I am by myself.

Praise God for the warm embrace of friendship that surrounds me in brothers that help protect my life and mind against the elements. Their encouragement is like a thick blanket on the coldest nights of the soul. Yes, it is cold. No, I will not lose heart because my brothers are here with me.

(v. 12) "And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Prais the Lord for brothers that have my back! Alone, I feel as though I might break under to pressure upon my life. Yes, I suppose that I can summon up the will power--let everybody think that I am not weak or a quitter. Yes, I suppose that I can get my clock cleaned by being prideful and say, "No, I am fine. Just fine. No problems at all." Yes, I can walk in sin.

Or. Yes...or. I can hold out my hands and take off the mask and feel the strength that comes from a brother helping to bear my burden. What is this glorious feeling? It is the feeling of not being broken in-two. It is the feeling of protection. It is a fort around my life that God has provided. It has come in the form of a compassionate brother being near to me. I live to fight again.

I have discovered that the Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 life is not optional. It is essential.

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