How the Choice to Love Benefits You
The Thing About the “love Month” is…
Today is the start of our February series called "Extravagant Love Says…" I am super excited to make this journey with you!
February is known for being the "love month." Even the stores position themselves towards Valentine's Day as early as the day after Christmas (or shortly after). If we look at our culture, Valentine's Day tells us that to show someone we love them, we buy jewelry, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, giant-sized stuffed animals, dozens of roses, and expensive dinners. But is this really an adequate expression of love? And should expressing love be confined to only one day a year?
For being a month devoted to love, there's a lot of relationships it leaves out. Primarily, it leaves out all of the relationships that AREN'T romantic. What about love between friends? What about love between siblings? What about love between other family members (such as with a favorite aunt or uncle)? What about love towards God? So many relationships get overlooked, yet there's a TON that we can learn from those relationships!
This month, from now until April 22nd, we will be looking at a variety Biblical relationships and consider the lessons that we can glean from each of them. We will look at each relationship and finish the sentence, "Extravagant Love says..."
Today, Let’s look at the benefits through today’s reading in Ecclesiastes 4.
Benefit One: They can help each other succeed.
Have you ever taken on a project that requires others to succeed? Maybe you've started a business, a blog, a ministry, etc. What do all three of those have in common? The need for people. You can't have a business without customers. You can't have a successful blog without readers. You can't have a ministry without people.
Whether we want to believe it or not, we need each other. We need others to come alongside us to encourage us, lift us up when we’re discouraged, and to support us as we face life together. Without the love and care of others, we wouldn’t succeed. Our journeys would be exponentially difficult without others, when we compare it to the help, advice, and encouragement of our supporters.
Benefit Two: They can pick the other up with they fall.
I think of Jesus picking up Peter when they were walking on the water and Peter started to sink. Jesus not only lifted Peter up out of the water (physical), but he also lifted Peter up out of his fear and challenged his faith (emotional and spiritual). Not only do we need to be people who pick others up when they fall, we need others to lift us up when we fall (or sink).
There are many ways to lift someone up and every single way is incredibly valuable in a relationship! We can offer an encouraging word. We can pray for each other. We can offer gifts that serve as a reminder of the purpose of the journey. Or we can simply just be present (much like Job’s friends at the beginning of the Book of Job).
Are you currently lifting up and encouraging a friend? In what way are you lifting them up?
Benefit Three: They can keep warm.
I once heard a story about a father and son who had gotten lost while skiing. They were in a serious emergency as they were on this mountain and a blizzard came along. They found a little cave and it didn't take too long before it was discovered that the son was at the beginnings of frostbite. The dad was doing everything he could to warm up his son. He'd put those freezing feet on his belly to make use of his own body heat. It was constant shifting and moving in an attempt to protect his son from frostbite. After two days (or thereabouts) they were rescued. The amazing part was that when it was all said and one, the son lost only one toe to frostbite (he was in danger of losing fingers and feet up on that mountain). Thanks to having his dad with him, he was able to stay much warmer than if he had been lost all by himself. With his dad he only lost one toe, can you imagine what he could have lost had he been all by himself?
Benefit Four: Protection.
Have you ever watched those nature documentaries that show how bison protect their young from hungry wolves? It’s absolutely fascinating. What the herd does is create a circle around their young with their horns facing their enemy. As long as they stick together in this manner, the wolves will be unsuccessful in their attempts. The wolves are powerless against the powerful horns. Now, if the herd gets spooked and disband, their young have a much higher chance of being attacked and eaten by those hungry wolves. Sometimes this happens, but other times, the herd will regroup and their young is saved.
When we try to do life alone, we look a lot like the herd that has disbanded. The danger increases. When we do it with others, we find that we’re apart of an unbeatable fortress, and the danger diminishes.
And…Bonus Benefit Five…
The best benefit isn't mentioned in clear, black and white, bold letters in this passage. Where there are two or more people, neither are alone. It’s easy, in life, to feel that we’re all alone. We begin to believe the lie that no one else on earth has ever gone through what we’re going through. But, as this passage points out, we’re not alone. None of us are alone when we do life together. We have people who care for us and love for us through encouragement, advice, prayer, and much more.
May this passage always be a reminder that you’re never alone.
Let's Discuss! Comment Below!
What other benefits of relationship do you notice (either from this passage or other passages in the Bible)?