The Value of Friendship

The Value of Friendship

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.

—Ecclesiastes 4:9

Friendships are not a luxury; they are absolutely necessary to our physical, our emotional and our spiritual well-being.

A number of years ago I came across an article in Modern Maturity entitled “You May Live Longer If You Are Sociable.” The article details the value of companionship. In one of the most comprehensive studies of senior adults ever taken in the United States, researchers determined that participation in formal social networks—that is, in the church and in community groups—is a more important predictor of mortality than one’s health. People who have strong social networks are more likely to remain independent and survive.

Having companionship with other people is vital to your physical well-being. But friendships are also crucial for your emotional and spiritual well-being. Perhaps no one understood that better than Solomon. King Solomon had it all—wealth, power, prestige, sexual gratification. He had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, but his life was void of true intimacy, true companionship. Without it, he said, life is meaningless.

In Ecclesiastes 4, Solomon talks about the futility of life without intimate relationships with friends. He says, “I looked again at vanity under the sun.” And then he tells a story about somebody he knew. “There was a certain man without a dependent, having neither a son nor a brother, yet there was no end to all of 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. It is a grievous task” (4:7). That realization of life without intimacy led him to the familiar verses that talk about the value of friendship: “For two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there’s not another to lift him up.”

Companionship is vital to our well-being.

 

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Love Connection,” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012

Scripture 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.