Two Are Better and Three Is Best

Most of us recognize intuitively that being dependent well into adulthood is not healthy or correct. So we often strive for independence. We get a job, we move into our own apartment, we start to pay the bills. We take responsibility for our own lives.

But the trap in this is that we can come to believe that this is as far as we need to go. We feel we’ve arrived, so we don’t perceive any need to ask ourselves if there’s something more.

But Solomon tells us there is. There’s something far better, he claims. And this is the true destination we should be stepping towards.

It’s not independence. It’s interdependence.

It’s understanding that the reason we need to learn how to take care of ourselves is really so that we can get into position to be able to take care of the needs of others, and have them also take care of our needs in a mutually beneficial relationship.

This is all the more true if God is in the midst of the relationship. Solomon’s father David had experienced a relationship like this. It was his relationship with his best friend, Jonathan. And right in the middle of that relationship with each other was their mutual relationship with the Lord.

It’s true. Two are better than one. And, as Jonathan and David demonstrate clearly, when the third party is God, three is best of all.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 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. 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, NIV).

Our Bible reading for Wednesday, August 12, is Ecclesiastes 4:1 – 6:12, 1 Corinthians 7:17-35 and Proverbs 19:23 – 20:4.

Jesus, thank you for coming to love and support me. I know that I am dependent on you and your love for forgiveness, peace, and eternal life. Help me to grow beyond independence to interdependence, so that I can fulfill the purpose you’ve given me to love others as you first loved me.

Header image based on "119/365" by Anna Gutermuth, CC By 2.0

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pastorjeffgunn

I'm married to my beautiful wife Julie and have five kids whose names all begin with the letter A. I'm a pastor at CrossWalk Church in Phoenix, AZ. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids, and my grandkids. Huge Arizona Cardinals fan! Reading, hiking, camping, travel, and fishing are my top 5 downtime pleasures.

3 thoughts on “Two Are Better and Three Is Best”

  1. This makes complete and total sense. My question, however, is what if the individual you care for is not in alignment with God’s will and doesn’t believe in Jesus? Even though we may both be interdependent on each other, is it true interdependence if God is absent from one person?
    Thanks again for these wonderful blog entries! I really appreciate them!

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    1. Tod, your question reminds me of what the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7, starting at verse 12: “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.” The principle behind this is that we can still maintain an interdependent relationship with someone apart from the Lord. It won’t be on the same level as one that has the Lord as the “third party” because the spiritual aspect of the interdependence will be lacking. But it can still be interdependent on many other levels. Most importantly, as Paul says here, when we build interdependent relationships with people, it can be a fantastic opportunity to be a part of leading someone to a faith-relationship with Jesus.

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  2. Our Bible reading for Wednesday, August 12, is Ecclesiastes 4:1 – 6:12, 1 Corinthians 7:17-35 and Proverbs 19:23 – 20:4.

    Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 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. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4‬:‭9-10‬ NIV)

    For who knows what is good for a person in life, during the few and meaningless days they pass through like a shadow? Who can tell them what will happen under the sun after they are gone? (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭6‬:‭12‬ NIV)

    Heavenly Father, you have always given me all I need. You are there for me everyday whether I read your word, call your name, or I sin. Thank you for fellowship and all the amazing people you have put in my life. I understand that my time on this short as a breath from your point of view. I thank you for today and another opportunity to experience your greatness. I pray that I leave a trace of any good that I may have done for others witness as my time passes away, day by day.

    ~Paul Montenieri

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