When I was a new kid in town, to get to school, I had to walk past Billy Parsell’s house. Billy was bigger and stronger than me. Whenever I passed by, he would knock me down, hit me, and otherwise make my life miserable.
One day I came home crying, my new pants ripped and my knee bloodied. My dad, who was a reasonable man, put me in the car and drove me over to the Parsell’s house. He showed Billy’s mother her son’s handiwork, and we thought the problem was solved. But a few days later Billy was back at it.
So my brilliant father came up with another plan. “Don’t walk to school alone anymore. Go with your brother,” he advised. “The next time he comes at you, the both of you pile on him and give him a good licking.”
Years later I wonder if Dad got that idea from Solomon who wrote: An attacker may defeat someone who is alone, but two can resist him. (Ecclesiastes 4:12).
It didn’t take long. One day, on my way home from school, Billy came at me with violence in his eyes. But I had my brother at my side. The two of us fought back. In no time we had him on the ground crying. What’s really crazy about this story is a few months later Billy apparently hadn’t learned his lesson. He tried to bully me again. This time our pal Jimmy joined the fray. As Solomon concluded: a three-stranded cord is not easily broken. I seem to remember a bloody nose. We never heard of Billy bullying anyone after that.
God was really smart when he decided to give Eve to Adam as a helpmate. I don’t know what I would do without my Charlene.
And remember old Noah led those animals into the arkie-arkie by twosie-twosies. Thank God Joshua had Caleb and John partnered with Peter. What would Paul have done if, when been beaten and thrown in an Ephesian jail, we was by his lonesome? But he had Silas. I’m not sure that story would have had the happy ending it did, without the power of two. I’m positive they encouraged each other and finally ended up singing praises to God rather than getting depressed.
Then there was Jesus, who, like his father, was really smart. He never sent his disciples out alone, but always in pairs. I seem to remember reading about a husband-wife team, a dynamic duo named Priscilla and Aquila. They not only got Apollos fired up in the ministry but were great assets to Paul’s work for the Lord.
The power of two or more is nowhere more effective than in prayer. You go into your prayer closet alone and God will surely be there with you. But if you want His special presence and power, find another one or two and unite together with them in prayer.
Both times I planted congregations, I joined in prayer with another for months beforehand. God did the rest. I feel sorry for pastors who try to do the work of ministry by themselves. It’s a lonely and sometimes dangerous business. We all know of pastors whom the devil has picked off, often because they tried to go it alone.
So, if you want to do great things for God, put aside that rugged individualism. Find at least one other person of like mind and go do it with them.
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