Laura pretty close to dragged me out on a run this morning. I just about loathe being cold and wet, and I hate having rain on my face. (it’s an artifact from when I wore glasses…I hated having water on my glasses and still don’t like rain on my face) So since it was raining outside this morning I was planning on skipping it. But she got me out of the house and we hit the road together. We went for a pretty good 5k this morning, which made me think of Solomon’s wisdom concerning life lived in community in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.
10 For 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.
11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
There is power in having good and faithful friends around to help us do what we need to do! I wanted to back out this morning, to take it easy, to chill out and skip my run because I don’t like running in the rain. My running buddy, though, wouldn’t let me. She had the courage to say, “Come on! Let’s get our shoes on and take a run!” And with her encouraging me I went. Now, sitting at my computer in the afternoon, I am very glad that I listened to her. She reminded me that it’s important to have others around, because when I fall, she can and does lift me up. (verse 10) Without her there I would have just taken the day off and been lazy, but having a running partner made all the difference in my habits today!
God works in our lives in community, plain and simple. When I have others in my life who can lift me up when I am weak and keep me moving in the right direction I can reach incredible heights. This is a common theme in a lot of movies and hero dramas (and villain dramas too); Batman had Robin, the Skipper had Gilligan, Butch Cassidy had the Sundance Kid, and the list goes on. Even “The LONE RANGER” had Tonto! We are built to serve God in community, to have a friend or friends around us who can help us be strong and serve the Lord.
Therefore 1encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thess 5:11)
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13)
So with that in mind, I had a couple of questions for myself this afternoon that I thought others might benefit from:
- Am I cultivating real and authentic relationships with people who can encourage me and lift me up? Am I building friendships with people who want my best and encourage me to serve God and be the best I can, or am I allowing people to pull me down to their level?
- Am I being an encouragement or a discouragement to those around me? Am I an excuse for them to slack off or am I helping them be strong when they can’t?
- If I had to characterize my life, would it look more like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, (think about his community [caution: language in the link) or like Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland’s Opus? Which would you prefer at the end of your life?
Friends who encourage us in Christ are not plentiful enough to waste. So go thank the people who share your life and make it better, who encourage you to be the best that you can be. And make an effort today to be an encourager to those around you!