About 5 years ago, before our family lived on a farm, we was blessed by the addition of a cute American Eskimo puppy. And, as any good homeschooling family, we did a lot of research in preparation for our puppy’s arrival. The Monks of New Skeet in the book “The Art of Raising a Puppy” helped us greatly in our quest to understand our new family member. They teach a puppy views its human family as a dog pack, therefore within security of the family pack, the puppy is able to find his/her place and thrive in it.
|American Eskimo Puppy|
In thinking about this “pack” mentality I believe we Christians are also called to be a pack. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, the following four underlying principals are given describing the benefits of being part of a PACK:
P – Prosperity
Ecclesiastes 4:9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.”
The first benefit of a pack is prosperity. The Hebrew word used for “better” and “good” in this verse happens to be the same. So, in essence when we labor with one another our rewards are better together than if we were to have labored apart. Furthermore, the Hebrew word for labor goes beyond a simple description of physical effort and also includes the feelings of pain and sorrow the act brings with it. Therefore, no matter what difficulties you face, you are promised a greater reward for the same amount of effort if you are willing to share these burdens with those around you instead of trying to muddle through them on your own.
A – Assistance
Ecclesiastes 4:10 “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls for he has no one to help him up.”
The second benefit of a pack is assistance. The word fall, as used in this verse, can also mean judged, cast down, or overwhelmed. And when a person is in a fallen state a friend is able to “lift” his burden by supplying outside strength to hold up or straighten his friend. But, if a person does not have a friend to help him get back up on his feet then he is left to struggle back up on his own. Assistance comes in many forms, such a note of encouragement, prayers for strength, and meals delivered in love. And although friends cannot remove most of the obstacles life calls us to endure, their assistance does make these difficult times easier to bear.
C – Comfort
Ecclesiastes 4:11 “Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?”
The third benefit of a pack is comfort. In this verse the phrase to “lie down together” can mean the same thing my daughter does on cold nights when she crawls into bed with me to share some of my body heat. But, this phrase can also mean to lodge or rest with another person. Just sitting with another person through the cold circumstances of life means a lot to someone in need. Nothing needs to be done or said in these moments just the presence of another required. Also, generating heat requires energy and that is why a body will start to shiver and shake when left to warm itself. But, when a friend shares warmth there is no need to generate heat, it just comes and so does the ability to rest and find peace in any situation.
K – Keep watch
Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be over powered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
The fourth benefit of a pack is the ability to keep watch. Consider how much easier it is to guard anything when two or three people share the load of keeping watch. Sharing the load allows each person to take a rest. A shared load also partitions an individual’s watch responsibility. Finally, in the event of an attack if there are two or three standing ready to fight instead of just one tired watchman the attack is thwarted with greater ease. Friends who stand at the ready to watch for signs when the other may need some spiritual guidance or a physical are ones who are not easily broken by the attacks Satan throws their way.
So who is part of your PACK? Of course there is your family, but I learned a long time ago that my family could not be my entire pack. Asking a husband or a child to supply resources for all of your pack needs puts too much stress on those relationships. God gives us each wonderful communities of believers and close Christian friends for this purpose too. So I encourage you, if you are not part of a church, a bible study, a small group or even a virtual Christian support group, take the initiative today to start looking for a pack you can call your own.
You owe it to yourself to be part of a pack and to reap the benefits which God’s word promises will come your way if you do.