Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him 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 4:9-12
The first benefit of companionship is support: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up.”
At a Special Olympics race—where children with disabilities were competing—a cute kid named Timmy quickly took the lead and was far ahead. He was nearing the finish line when he looked back and saw that his friend had fallen and hurt himself. Timmy stopped. People shouted, “Run, Timmy, run!” He ran alright—back to his friend. He helped him up, brushed off the dirt, and the two jogged together, arms around each other’s shoulders, coming in last.
How can you tell the difference between a true friend and a so-so acquaintance? That’s easy: get in trouble. A true friend is a person you can call at two in the morning and tell her you need her. She doesn’t ask what the problem is before deciding whether or not to come. She asks, “Where are you?” while she’s getting dressed.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prv 17:17). Sooner or later trouble comes to all; it’s included in the price of the ticket to life. We need the support of others—and they need ours.
The second benefit of companionship is comfort: “If two lie down together, they will keep warm.”
Travelers in Palestine often had to spend the night outdoors. From December to February the nights were often wet and cold. A hiker was fortunate if he traveled with a companion, because “If two lie down together, they will keep warm.”
In 1957, Sam Rayburn—the longest-tenured Speaker of the House of Representatives—learned late one night that a friend’s teenage daughter had died in an accident. Early the next morning Sam walked through his friend’s front door, went to the kitchen and started making breakfast. The surprised father said, “Mr. Speaker, I read that you and Senator Johnson were to have breakfast with the president at the White House this morning.” “We were supposed to,” Sam said, “but I called the president’s secretary and told her to tell the president that I have a friend who’s suffered a terrible loss and I have to be with him; I can’t come to the White House for breakfast.”
It’s a cold world at times. All of us skid through icy patches where we need the warmth of comforting companions.
The third benefit of companionship is protection: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
In Old Testament days, combat was mostly hand-to-hand. Soldiers went into battle with a partner they trusted. The two stood back-to-back, ready to take on an enemy coming from any direction. We all need a friend who has our back.
A cord of three strands may mean that when two stick together, they can do the work of three.
Or it may mean—and probably does—that the Lord joins the twosome: “Where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them” (Mt 18:20).
The companionship of supporter and Savior is peak protection.