Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
What are the advantages of companionship that most people miss? In Ecclesiastes 4, we see that Solomon had it all: money, wealth, and power. But one thing he lacked was companionship. You may be wondering, “What about Solomon’s seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines? Weren’t they enough to keep him busy?” Well, that provided something, but not what he needed most–companionship. He said in Ecclesiastes 4:8, “There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all his labor. Indeed, his eyes were not satisfied with riches and he never asked, ‘And for whom am I laboring and depriving myself of pleasure?’ This too is vanity.” To work all your life without anybody to share it with–that is meaningless. Then in verse 9, he said, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.” Why do you need to go through life with companions rather than alone?
First of all, companionship offers us assistance in times of crisis. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” There is an old Swedish proverb that says, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” That’s what Solomon was saying here. Imagine two people walking along together. If one stumbles, the other one is there to lift him up. Rarely do two people stumble at the same time. It is the same way with going through life. When you are going through life with a companion or a group of friends, if you fall into temptation or despair, chances are the other person isn’t going through that at the same time. They are able to lift you up, and that’s why we need to go through life in the companionship of other people.
Second, companionship offers support when we feel alone. Solomon wrote, “If two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?” (Ecclesiastes 4:11). He was not talking about body temperature. He was talking about those cold times of life that we all experience, such as maybe the move to a new city, the beginning of a new job, or the death of a loved one. During those cold moments of life, you need a companion to provide warmth. Consider the Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi. Ruth suffered the loss of her husband. Her mother-in-law, Naomi, was also a widow, and she told Ruth to move back in with her parents and find a husband. Ruth wouldn’t hear of it. She needed Naomi, and she believed her mother-in-law needed her as well. In one of the most beautiful passages of the Bible, Ruth said to Naomi, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God” (Ruth 1:16). During that cold time of her life, Ruth knew she needed the warmth of companionship with her mother-in-law. We all need other people for those cold times in life.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Choosing Companionship over Loneliness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.