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Two Are Better Than One


Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

10 If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


I have long believed that none of us is as smart as all of us. I have opinions and perspectives and so do you. My mother's former superintendent of schools was known to say, "Where you sit is where you stand!" We see things from our perspective and our perspective is limited. Therefore, I need you to complete my vision and assist my visual acuity. My biases can cloud my sight and skew my emotions. Two are better than one. The teacher in Ecclesiastes gives plainly makes this statement then follows up with his logical arguments to support his idea.

Two are better than one for -

  • Increased Productivity

Two are better than one,

because they have a good return for their labor:

With more people we can get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time. If I will share the load and empower those around me to help with the task at hand we can probably get it done much faster. There is nothing better then a team effort when we have a deadline to meet or a huge task in front of us. At Easter this year my wife, Lisa, decided we needed 8,000 eggs stuffed for the Easter Egg Hunt. Every night we sat down and stuff a few hundred eggs between the two of us. The next week I took the same number of eggs to my Wednesday night small group and they twelve people there completed the same amount of work in 30 minutes that we had produced in over a week! Not only is two better than one...twelve is a LOT better than one when it comes to stuffing eggs!

  • Rescue & Support

10 If either of them falls down,

one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

and has no one to help them up.

When one of us falls down there is someone there to pick us up, dust us off, and get us back in the game. If we are close enough in proximity they may even be able to catch us or, at least, cushion our fall and lessen our risk of serious injury. This "fall" could include a wide range of declines including a physical fall, moral failure, mental breakdown, or emotional meltdown. Furthermore, when we live in community long enough we will all experience the sensation of falling at some point in time. You may be there for somebody this week, but next week be the focal point of care and concern. It really is not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN we fall, falter, or fail in some area of our life. Two are better then one when we fall because we have a team to rescue and community to support us.

  • Warmth & Security

11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

At the Reynolds home we call this snuggling. There is nothing better than snuggling down with your infant, child, grandchildren, or your spouse on a cold night or when we simply need the warmth of genuine care and concern. The definition of snuggling is "to lie or press closely, as for comfort or from affection; nestle; cuddle." Snuggling requires proximity. You can't virtually snuggle! You have to be there. Long distance snuggling is not snuggling. But, it also requires presence. I don't mean simply being in the same room or the same space, but being present and paying close attention. Authentic community provides a sense of personal warmth, understanding, comfort, and genuine caring. Such warmth tends to increase our sense of personal security and stability. We feel better understood, accepted, and supported. Again, this can be virtually impossible when we are alone or disconnected. Two or more can increase the likelihood of personal warmth and security.

  • Strength & Durability

12 Though one may be overpowered,

two can defend themselves.

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

There is strength in numbers. There is a reason why police officers encourage us never to walk the streets alone but to stay in groups of two, three, or four. As a youth pastor I had strict rules on any trip away from home regarding never being alone. The teenagers were required to have at least one buddy, two buddies, or three buddies as they ventured out. Failure to comply meant being accompanied by a chaperon for the remainder of the day...a cruel price to pay for an adolescent! Peer pressure can be a positive influence as we combine to deflect danger, increase accountability, and raise the level of courageous faith among us. It is easier to do the right thing when we are surrounded by positive peer pressure just as it is more difficult to do the right thing when everyone around us seems to be caving into temptation. Two or more provide amplified strength and stability. Teaming up provides power and sustainability.

Two are better than one. So the next time you are tempted to do it yourself, go it alone, or refuse to accept assistance, think it through before you choose. In the short term it might be easier by yourself or the produce might be slightly better in quality, but doubling up or teaming up is almost always a better option. We can enjoy increased productivity and better results. We can provide emergency help, heroic rescue, or a heightened sense of personal support and caring. Or we can enjoy personal warmth, understanding, and a deeper sense of personal security. Finally, we may exponentially increase our strength quotient and extend the durability of our efforts. All these things are more likely when we resist the temptation to live life in the singular and engage life in the plural. The proof is in the pudding, but I am convinced that in life and leadership two is better than one.

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