September 4, 2018
READ: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble (v.10).
One summer holiday during my university years, I travelled with three friends to the Grand Canyon for a rim-to-rim hike. Carrying a sixty-pound pack through suffocating heat, we trekked mile after mile across the scorching canyon floor. At one point, I blacked out and awoke moments later with my friends gazing down at me. They pulled me to a safe spot, took the pack off my back and gave me some sweets to eat (sugar was just what I needed). That escapade could have gone very differently if I’d been hiking alone!
The Bible often tells us how friendship and companionship are essential. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). And Paul stresses how much we need deep spiritual friendships so that we can “share each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Alone we’re vulnerable; but together we’re resilient. Scripture’s imagery is vivid: “Two people lying close together can keep each other warm” (Ecclesiastes 4:11).
Of course, it can be difficult to trust in friendship. Perhaps someone has disappointed us or we’ve been wounded by someone we trusted. We may have felt exposed when we attempted to give ourselves to a friend. Still, we need to show courage and reach out again. The cost of neglecting meaningful relationships is far greater than the pain we’ll experience if we never know friendship’s joy.
God doesn’t intend for us to live isolated or withdrawn. It’s actually a dangerous thing to live without deep friendships. “If one person falls, the other can . . . help,” the Bible says. “But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (v.10). May we cultivate and cherish the art of friendship.
365-day plan: Luke 20:20-40
Read Romans 12:10 and think about what it means to be a true friend.
Who would you name as a true friend? What would be required of you to pursue friendships in a deeper way?