Devotional: August 6, 2021
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 NRSV
God’s desire is for us to not be alone. The opening chapters of Genesis speak this truth, and it is reiterated here in Ecclesiastes. The writer of Ecclesiastes speaks of how two are better than one, giving the example drawn from two walking or running together. If one of them falls, the other can help them up. However, those who walk or run alone are in a much more desperate situation if they fall.
One of the most important benefits of being part of a church is that it becomes our a Christian community: our brothers and sisters in Christ become like family to us, ideally. Then when we fall, or are in need of assistance, others in Christian community will come to support us, be present with us, and to pray for us.
The importance of community was brought home over these last two weeks by the Olympic Games. Many have nicknamed the Tokyo 2021 games as “the loneliest games.” Not only are there few fans present in the stands, but athletes are there without their families and friends to support them, and to cheer them on.
Allyson Felix is now the most decorated female track Olympian, having won her tenth medal at these games. However, this has come at a cost. Allyson gave birth in late 2018 to her daughter Cammy. To compete at these games, she had to leave her daughter for the duration of the games: 16 days! In an interview, she spoke about how Facetime visits with Cammy helped, but the ache in her heart was still present.
Allyson, however, did find support and community at the games, as she connected with other moms who are apart from their children while competing without the presence of their support system.
The challenge of finding community is not unique to the Olympic games. As people are living longer, they are also living alone longer. We learned from the shutdown last year how essential and lifesaving it is to have a social support system. The scriptures speak of this truth, because God created us as relational people. To put it another way, we were designed to be around other people. Even if the number of people in your household is one, your life can still be enriched, and you will grow in and through your Christian community.
Seek out opportunities to be with others. While solitude has its advantages, a steady diet of it is not God’s desire for us. You may be just the person that someone else needs to see. Go and see them, trusting in the truth that we all were created for community.
Lord of all,
Thank you for creating us in your image, for you are a relational God. I know that I am meant to be with other people, like every one of Your children. May You lead me to find companionship and community. Remind me that it is good to be with others. Help me to be thankful and grateful that when I fall down, I look up to see the person you placed in my life to pick me up. You desire us to fellowship together. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.