“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! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them 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 4:8-12 NIV
With the Super Bowl participants now decided, it seems like the only banter I hear is if Nick Foles can beat Tom Brady? I think the other 50+ guys on each sideline might take issue with that! Football, is a very intricate game and truly requires a “team effort” to win. Even the great talent that Brady has is useless without the protection of his offensive line! I love the part of the verse above when it talks about someone who falls but has no one to help him up and how that is demonstrated in a football game; not when one teammate helps his own teammate up, BUT when someone from the opposing team helps up their opponent! I used to help coach 8-10 year olds in football and I would tell them that, by all means, I wanted them to know their opponents on their butts, but I also expected them to help they guy up afterward!
I have been realizing more and more lately how isolated I tend to keep myself. I don’t believe this is a conscious effort on my part, but something I have always tended to do, especially the last 15 or so years. Greg Laurie wrote in a devotional, “Two men camping in the forest were enjoying their morning coffee when they suddenly spotted a very large, hungry grizzly bear lumbering toward them. One of the men quickly pulled on his running shoes. “Do you actually think you can outrun that grizzly bear?” his friend asked.
We’ve all had friends like that, haven’t we? At the first threat of danger or hardship or difficulty, they’re out the back door. So what makes for true friendship? It has been said that a true friend is one who walks in when others walk out. Thankfully, there have been people in my life who have stood by me and have been honest friends. But there’s one thing of which I’m confident: I have found a true and loyal friend in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ offers His friendship to us. In fact, the New Testament goes so far as to say that we have been called by God the Father into fellowship with His Son (see 1 Corinthians 1:9). But is it all one way? Do we really expect a friendship without a response on our part? A genuine relationship, obviously, is made up of two people committing themselves to one another. I can extend friendship to you, but until you return it to me, I can’t legitimately say we’re really friends.
Jesus demonstrated His willingness to have a friendship with us by what He did for us. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus forever proved just how dedicated He was to us when He did just that.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:6-8
Barnabas Men … I pray that we would each surround ourselves with godly men who will not only pick us up when we fall, but would hold us accountable when needed and be Jesus with skin on to all those around him.