You are currently viewing Essentials for Local Church Harmony 4: 1+1=3 

Essentials for Local Church Harmony 4: 1+1=3 

Essentials for Local Church Harmony Day 4: 1+1=3

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! … And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12 ESV)

Several years ago, I was visiting my in-laws in Cleveland, OH, over the Christmas break. While we were there, a big snowstorm hit, which led to the need to clear the driveway. My father-in-law (Ron) was used to it, so all the clothes went on and he was out to the garage to get the snowblower and shovel. It was still snowing, it was windy, and it was freezing (especially to a North Carolinian)! But we got started, talked a lot, laughed a lot, and finished the job. When we were done, Ron said something to the effect that it seemed to take less than half the usual time with the two of us working. Maybe it did, and maybe it didn’t. But the important part to me was that it seemed like it did. You know why? It didn’t feel as much like work because we were together. When you are working on a task with people you love, it makes all the difference in the world.    

Back to the title. While the world seems to have collectively lost its marbles recently, no, the laws of mathematics have not changed. But I love the spiritual truth behind the above “equation.” The practical application was experienced clearing that driveway; the spiritual truth is borne out in Ecclesiastes 4 and can be applied to relationships within a local church setting. Maybe I’m reading too much into verse 9, but I wonder if the “good reward” is emblematic of the synergy in working together. Sure, they will gain a reward if the two work separately, but a good reward if they work together. Doesn’t it seem better than just a reward? And verse 12 really brings home the value of strong relationships among believers. It isn’t described as a twofold cord; it’s a “threefold cord.” The intimation is that the Lord God is intertwined in that relationship. When He is with us, then 1+1=3. 

When we consider the harmony of a local church fellowship, the value of strong relationships cannot be overstated. Think of all the work that needs to be done: preaching, teaching, Sunday school, building upkeep, encouragement, correction, financial matters, technical matters, etc. What happens if the believers have no relationship? Would anything ever get accomplished? You would have individuals working alone with no help or benefit from working together. Where is the harmony in a bunch of soloists? Strong relationships are a necessity, but they require much work. At the very least, you need two-sided communication, patience, accountability, love, and openness. When believers in a local church have these types of qualities within their relationships and recognize the strength of the bond between them (the Holy Spirit), real work can be accomplished. The more in tune believers are with one another the better. My fellow believers shouldn’t be strangers.

The bond between believers and Christ is also a great form of security. When Satan attacks a local church (one of his favorite targets), it’s far better to have a unified force fighting and praying against him. He would much rather pick Christians off one at a time, and has been very successful with all the isolation that has taken place in recent years. Don’t make his job any easier, okay?       

Let’s do what we can to strengthen the relationships within our local churches. Despite the work it takes, it’ll be worth it. Maybe it’ll lead to a “good reward” for your toil. In fact, I know it will, if not in this life, definitely in the eternity to come!

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