The Lord has blessed me for over eighteen years through the connections and friendships with other brothers IN Christ Jesus. Prior to that, my model for the Christian man had a lot of similarities to that of simply being a Lone Ranger (it’s a pride thing) … something that God never intended … and Satan absolutely loves!
In 1999, I set out in search of a mentor at the church I was attending at the time. After a quite lengthy search the Lord led me to my younger and beloved brother Corban (and he is indeed given unto God – Mark 7:11). And thus began an intimate relationship that has lasted nearly 14 years.
The Lord blessed my spiritual growth through our 1 on 1 mentoring relationship. I was so excited about it that I shared my experience with other brothers … until eventually Corban had 2 or 3 of these Waffle House mentoring relationships going on (Sorry, Christian Chicken aka Chick-Fil-A is for the late risers … we met at 5:30am).
Eventually it made more sense to have just one meeting … once we overflowed from a booth at Waffle House … we moved to Corban’s house and then later to Cecil’s house (the room and table we met at has oftentimes reminded me of the painting of the Last Supper) … where they meet to this very day … every Friday at 5:30am.
I say they, because once I got a little way into the chemo routine for my cancer (and they have been there every step of the way thru my cancer battle) … well, I just wasn’t sleeping well and it became physically impossible to get up at 4:30 in the morning. So while I had to say good bye to the gathering … I never said good bye to my brothers.
And the Lord filled the gap my chemo created … blessing me with another small group of men who meet on Monday mornings at 7:30 at the local Chick-Fil-A … and there are several intimate relationships He is growing and blessing me with there as well … thank you Lord!
Being sixteen weeks out from my last chemo treatment (PRAISE GOD!), I have been sleeping better in recent weeks and waking up earlier … so this week I have felt the Lord nudging me all week to go meet with the Friday morning group.
Well, I didn’t set the alarm Thursday night but I laid out a fleece for God. Wake me up between 4:30 and 5 and I will get up and go. So this morning I woke up, rolled over, looked at the clock … 4:30.
The Lord blessed me with a wonderful hour of fellowship, food (Brother Joe faithfully blesses the group through his God-given gift of hospitality by bringing Hardee’s biscuits and Krispy Kreme doughnuts each week) and Bible study with Corban, Cecil, Joe, Ben and brother Jay who I met this morning for the first time … thank you Lord!
On the way home, I was reminded of this passage of Scripture from Ecclesiastes …
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of THREE strands is not quickly torn apart. Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 (NASB)
Did you see it?
Throughout that passage, it is about the truth that two are better than one … and then he closes with “A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
Here is my take on the three strands … the first strand is simply me alone – not a very strong strand by itself. The second strand represents my relationships with other believers … be it one, two or many. I believe the strength in that strand comes from the intimacy you share in relationships with other believers IN Christ Jesus.
But what about the third strand?
In my mind, the third strand is Christ Himself … who holds us together individually and who holds us together in relationship as the body of Christ.
He is before all things, and IN Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17 (NASB)
… holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. Colossians 2:19 (NASB)
If you are a believer IN Christ Jesus and you are not connected in an intimate relationship with other believers (and this is much more than just attending church), may I challenge you seek out such a relationship?
It may seem like a risk … but believe me when I say the reward in the relationships far outweigh the risks … and more importantly it is indeed God’s plan for both you and me.
Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)
Thanks for sharpening me brothers!