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.Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Someone may well say,
It's true that people work out of a sense of ambition and a drive for admiration from others, but it is better to have companionship while doing so.
The Searcher agrees and lists four advantages: First, it will increase the reward. Two really can live cheaper than one, and many people get married on that basis. During the Depression, there was a popular song that said,
Potatoes are cheaper, tomatoes are cheaper, now's the time to fall in love. Many young people agreed with that and got married. But economics have changed. Today potatoes are dearer, tomatoes are dearer, but still, now is the time to fall in love, because you can combine your resources. Even the IRS recognizes the advantage of this by giving some tax breaks to married couples.
Second, he says, a friend will provide help in time of trouble. If you get into difficulty, your friend or roommate will be there to help you.
You have to have grown up in Montana to fully appreciate the third advantage! When the temperature is forty-below-zero outside, you understand what the Searcher means when he says,
If two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone?
Fourth, the presence of one or more others in your life makes defeat unlikely:
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. While there are advantages in companionship, nevertheless, the Searcher's argument is that still it adds up to emptiness; it does not satisfy the sense of eternity that God has put in people's hearts. Many couples sit in loneliness, staring at a television screen for hours at a time or seek some other diversion to fill the emptiness and misery of their lives. No, companionship, though better than loneliness, is not the answer either.
Lord, thank You for friends and family, those whom You have placed in my life to bring greater increase, help in times of trouble, and warmth in times of cold loneliness. Help me to be a friend as well as receive friendship.
Companionship and fellowship are certainly advantageous in life. Does teamwork play an important role in our ministry or do we tend to go it alone?