Monday, December 13, 2010

A Force of Three

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)

My dad told me stories of his service in Viet Nam when I was growing up. He told me about jungles and boredom and fear in the middle of a sudden ambush. He told me of the enemy. There were frigid nights spent in damp forests when Marines slept head to toe soaking wet with feet shoved into a buddies arm pits to keep from freezing. Survival in battle and even in sleep required the help of a brother in arms. Your buddy covered your unseen and unprotected flanks and you covered his.

Self-sufficiency doesn’t exist in war. Neither do self-made men. Brothers in arms submit to each other to survive. If a soldier plays “super warrior,” it may cost him his life or the lives of his comrades. Life in the faith community works the same way. It's tempting to believe that we're doing this Christian life solo like it's just me and God against the dark forces of the world and Satan. The above verse implies that God isn’t really present until at least two are submitted to each other working for the good of the other.

You can try to be a force of one, but when you pair up with a brother in Christ, you’ll discover that you're a force of three.

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