Life is too complicated to do on your own
As you might have picked up, I am loving teaching the book of Ecclesiastes..
As probably the richest and most powerful person to ever walk the earth, I am not sure how many friends Solomon had, and I think he realises that loss.
I am very grateful for the friends I have.
Solomon starts the section in Ecclesiastes 4:7-8 by talking about a man who was all alone and made his work and his money the point of his life:
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
“For whom am I toiling,” he asked,
“and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—
a miserable business!
I have seen two T-Shirts that sum up this approach to life. The first said: “He who dies with the most toys, wins”, the second said “He who dies with the most toys, still dies”. I laughed hardest at the second, because we all recognise it as truth.
Solomon had the most toys, but my guess is not a lot of fellowship. David had Jonathon, and even Samuel and Nathan to keep him honest.
Solomon had people coming from all over the world to pay tribute to him. My guess is not many people would have had the courage to remind him about how many of the laws he was breaking with his extravagant lifestyle. (have a look at Deuteronomy 17:14-20: Solomon breaks every one of the laws of a King).
Solomon then contrasts the person who spends his life alone making money, with the importance of friendship in Chapter 4 verses 9-12:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Solomon is listing the reasons fellowship is better than going it alone.
- Your work will be much more effective (synergy means 2 people can accomplish more than double one persons work)
- There are times when you will fall over and you need someone to help you back up
- There are times when you just need the warmth of a relationship to help you get through
- You are going to be attacked, and you need someone to have your back.
My guess is Solomon felt all those needs deeply, but because of his position in life didn’t have the luxury of real friendships.
I have spoken to a handful of celebrities over the years and seen enough interviews to know that one of the hazards of celebrity are people who want to know you because of what you are rather than who you are.
We all need friends, and particularly friends that reflect the last line “a cord of three strands is not easily broken”. The picture there is that the third member of any friendship is God, and it is that third member who actually helps hold the relationship together.
I need friends who will love God, and as a result love me.
I need friends who, because they love God and love me will work with me shoulder to shoulder, help me up when I fall, be there when I just need comfort and have my back when I’m under attack.
The thing is, in order to have friends like that I need to be a friend like that.
I want to say thank you for all of my friends who have been there for me.
I want to say I will work at being a better friend.
Life is too complicated to do on your own.