On Monday I completed my 20-mile local cycle ride with my cycling friend Malcolm. We usually go on a Saturday but because of our Vision Day and need to go without food on that day, went on Monday instead. Normally on our ride together, I race on ahead because I like to go fast down all the hills, and there are quite a few of them. I then stop at various points and wait for him to catch up. So, although we are riding together, we spend very little time talking or enjoying one another’s company. To try and improve things we agreed to stick together this time and follow one another’s wheel, so to speak. We spent much more time chatting and riding alongside one another, as well as trying to put the world to rights. Although I had to use the brakes much more coming down the hills, I found I was going up the hills faster, because Malcolm can climb the hills better than I can. It was a lot less lonely riding alongside someone than it was just racing ahead on one’s own
This verse in Ecclesiastes is encouraging us to be on the lookout for good partnerships and joining with others. It then talks about the advantages of two rather than just one. God has designed us to work with others in achieving the goals he has for us. We know this is true when it comes to a life partner, but there are lots of other situations where he wants us to join together with others. In the church we often need to provoke one another to persevere in prayer, or to forgive or overcome bad habits. We grow and learn new things by being mentored by another more mature believer.
How can we be creative in these interesting lock down times, to get together a little more, so we don’t just get used to our own separate units, and as a result not grow together? Here are a few suggestions. Why not ask God to put someone on your mind to pray with or encourage, and try phoning them up? Praying together can be something we miss out on. Why not see if someone is willing to pray with you once a week or once a fortnight. I am still praying in a triplet in Henley right now – that is with two other men. We each have 5 minutes to say how are families are, how our work, or lack of it is going and how we are connecting with church, when there is only Zoom to engage with. We then spend 10 minutes praying in turn for one another. I really look forward to these times. I also take my exercise with another Christian friend once a month and walk locally with him. We end our time praying for one another.
I haven’t tried this yet, but one idea is for a group of people to watch the next film in a series called The Chosen. This is a very good series on the life of Jesus. The group then meet on Zoom to say what they appreciated and enjoyed, as well as what they were challenged by.
Just a few ideas……”Two are better than one” so why not give it a go……