The G Factor and living alone

The G Factor and living alone

Two people are better off than one. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

Ecclesiastes 4:8-13 

 8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?

 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

 13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.

In 2019, the population of the United States of America was about 330,000,000. According to the Census Bureau, more Americans are living alone. This reflects a global trend. The proportion of Americans who live alone has grown steadily since the 1920s: 1920 – 5%, 1990 – 25%, 2018 – 35%.

The G factor is shorthand for general intelligence, or just intelligence. Intelligence used to be considered simply knowledge and skills. But more recently intelligence is defined as mental capability that involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn from experience and learn quickly.  When individuals work together as a whole, a group mind develops.

Are two heads better than one?

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes, paints a rather dark, bleak and somewhat meaningless picture of being alone. There is lots of hard work but diminishing reward.

Ecclesiastes 4:8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

Perhaps this is an individual who crushed and trampled others on the way to the top. Now he is king of the mountain, but all alone. He is reflective. Endless toil without satisfaction is ultimately an unhappy business. One thinks of John D. Rockefeller, 1 of the richest men of his age, when asked, “How much money is enough?” He responded, “Just a little bit more.” How much is enough? If Rockefeller always needed a little more  who will ever have enough?

But Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, offered a better way. Two are better than one. Working side-by-side, wise people will find contentment, good reward, productivity, and help in times of need.  Work is sweeter and more successful when done with another.  

Life is full of challenges! Given the choice, why face it alone? Whose idea was this originally? The answer is familiar but surprisingly just off the radar for most of us.

Genesis 2:18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

According to this simple comparison, it is better to share our life and work than to try to make it on our own. The Father did not design us to go it alone!

But this is more than simply talking about having a mate, a person just right for us in marriage. Togetherness is better than loneliness. Connection is better than competition (Ryken). The “buddy system” is the Father’s plan for life in general and service to Him.  These relationships provide practical and emotional support, strength, purpose, and reassurance.

God rarely calls on any of His children to “go it alone” in their walk with Him. We need each other, not only to receive help and encouragement, but to give it as well. – Stanley

When we choose to be a companion, we often find one for ourselves.

REFLECT & PRAY

In the challenges of life, having someone to help us is a gift from the Father.

Father thank you for putting people into my life who have my back. Encourage me to reach out and help others in need.

INSIGHT

Ecclesiastes is a long lament about living life for this world only, or as Solomon puts it “under the sun.” Living life with solely an earthbound view is cruelly dissatisfying. We toil and strive, yet we remain haunted by a vague sense that we’re missing something (Tim Gustafson).

Against this grim background, Solomon offers simple, homespun, wisdom: companionship is better than loneliness. Companions are there for each other and help each other out. They provide warmth and comfort. There is strength in numbers, and they defend one another. A threefold cord describes a rope or cord formed of three strands twisted or plaited together.  Obviously, a rope with three strands is harder to break than a rope with two.

It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies (Thomas Paine ).

Ecclesiastes 4:10-13

 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?

 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

 13 It is better to be a poor but wise youth than an old and foolish king who refuses all advice.

How does the old king demonstrate that he is foolish? He refuses to take advice. He is inflexible and unwilling to learn. Sadly, as we age, many not only become rigid in body, but also in mind. The old king’s problem was not simply age but being closed to the advice of others. Is the case of a man mentioned earlier who is all alone?

This need not be the case. Regardless of our age, we should be willing and open to admonition, correction, and instruction. We should seek it out. Do you?

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

One thought on “The G Factor and living alone

  1. I agree that two or three are better than one. However, in this time, in a world that it is filled with the “me, me” generation how does that apply? You see people together yet so far apart as if they are alone. Pursuing one’s only interest while leaving the other person behind to fence for themselves. So caught up with themselves that there is no room to help another person or if they do help, it is only with a motive to receive some sort of compensation. If there is no reward for them- they are quick to drop the act. Let us consider the woman/man that is in an abusive relationship. Is it better for that person to stand alone or to stay in the relationship? It is indeed a whole different scenario of what God’s intention for relationship and helping others stand. I know that God’s love and mercy will help that person who must go it alone because of someone else foolish and destructive behavior will be worst than if they remain in that situation. Yes it is better to for two or three to stand. But when that is not possible one person standing alone with Christ will be powered to weather the storms of life.

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