The G Factor vs. going it alone ∙

The G Factor vs. going it alone

Two people are better 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. In the past, intelligence was 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. Loneliness often involves lots of hard work but diminishing rewards.

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.

Solomon has in mind an individual who was driven to succeed in life. 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, one 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, in his great wisdom offered an alternative. Two are better than one. Working side-by-side, wise people are more effective. They get more “bang for the buck.” Achievement is often accompanied by increased productivity and reward, contentment, and help in times of need.  Work is sweeter and more successful when done with another.  Working well together is a life skill well worth pursuing.

Life is full of challenges! Given the choice, why face them alone? Originally, who first advocated that going through life alone was not a good idea? The answer is familiar but surprisingly just off the radar.

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. With very few exceptions, the Father did not design children of the King to go it alone!

But this is more than simply talking about having a mate. This is about finding the person tailor-made for us. Togetherness is better than loneliness. Connection is better than competition (Ryken). This applies to long-term, life-long relationships and short-term partnerships, and more casual ad hoc alliances or projects. The “buddy system” is the Father’s plan for life. Such relationships provide practical and emotional support, strength, and reassurance.

The Father rarely calls on children of the King 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).

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. 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 and counsel of others. Is this king the individual who chose to go it 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.

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.

¯\_()_/¯ 10-28-9

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