Unleashing Hope: You Don’t Have To Go It Alone
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor…” vs. 9
1 vs. 4
Does any one no who this man is? (show picture of head only) No, how about now? Well, you might not recognize him but this is El Guerrouj of Morocco who holds the world record for the mile in a of 3:43.13. You know, there was a time not to very long ago where it was believed that a man could not run the mile in under 4 minutes, that our bodies could not take such exertion and you would have a heart attack or physical breakdown. Now we see it is possible and man is reaching records we never thought possible.
So this is kind of a trick question but do you know who these four men are? They are the world record holders for the 4 x 400 meter relay (or a mile) with a time of 2:54:29 Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds, and Michael Johnson.
Why bring this up today? I think you could surmise from this illustration that working as a team, we can accomplish and attain things that we could never do individually. Believe it or not, this is a Biblical concept. We need other people in our life and we can do more and accomplish more when we work together. This comes from a passage in Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. If you are able, please stand as we read God’s Word.
Read Passage – Ecclesiastes 4:7-12
Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: 8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless—a miserable business! 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
There are things that we all need to survive. God created us with certain needs and certain things in our life that help us achieve things and help us get by in life. I am calling this our essential equipment. Part of the essential equipment God has given us is the relationships we have. God has put in each of us the need for relationships. One of those relationships is with God himself. Phil:4:19 says:
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19
So we are assured in scripture that God will meet all our need. He has provided us with essentials. One of those essentials is others.
Created For Relationship
You might be thinking; How do I know you I need relationships? Well, it’s because you were created to be in relationship. Go back to the beginning. God created Adam and Adam and God were able to talk, walk together and to be in relationship with each other. But it became apparent that even in that ideal situation that Adam needed something else. You would think that just being with God would be enough but God recognized that more was needed. Notice what we read in Genesis 2:18:
“The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” Gen. 2:18
We were created to be in relationship with God and we were created to be in relationship with each other.
5 Relationships We All Need
Townsend and Cloud in their book Boundaries (p. 115) said
“We all need more than God and a best friend we need a group of supportive relationships.”
So, what we can discover this morning tis that there are 5 relationships that we all need. Sometimes you have people in your life for a season or a period and then you have other people. It’s rare to have one person there your whole life. (I am not talking about a spouse here.) here is the promise for this thought. When you are supported through a group of people you can count on and trust, you unleash more hope into your life. Here is my challenge to you this morning as we go through them:
Challenge: On your outline write down the person that fills that relationship in your life…and…also write down the name of the person for whom you fill that role in their life.
- Vision Casters
So here we go. The first relationship that we all need is a vision caster. A vision caster is somebody who can see your potential, see what you could be, and then encourages you to move into that place. They see the bigger picture of your life. Note the words of 1 Thess. 5:11:
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thess. 5:11
A vision caster is a person who challenges us to dream big because tyhey can see the potential and the gifts and skills we have.
Ex. Marc – I had a friend like that in my life. His name was Marc and he went to be with the Lord just a few months ago. Marc, while I was still at UPS told me I should be in ministry. He said I should leave UPS and take his job. Before he resigned his position at UPS, he went to the pastor and told him he was going to need to resign and he knew the person to take his job, me! Then, while I was doing his job after I left UPS, we would play tennis twice a week and after about 2 years he told I needed to leave that job and be a pastor in a a church like this one. Marc was always able to see more in me than I could. I miss Marc. He was a vision caster.
Who is your vision caster? Who do you cast visions for?
- Soul Sharpeners
A second relationship we all need is a soul sharpener. A soul sharpener is someone who will work with you, challenge you, and keep you accountable to growing closer to God. This is a huge role to fill. This is the spiritual side of life. Proverbs 27:17 says:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
The analogy here is that as we rub up against each other we act as a file and sharpen or hone the other person. I think Solomon uses iron instead of a whetstone because he is indicating that we are made of the same substance. Think about it, there is a friction, a “rub” that can hurt and be uncomfortable but it is through that rub that we are sharpened. Also, inherent in this point is accountability. This is a pretty common method even in the world. Go to Alcohol Anonymous or Weight Watchers, or many other organizations that try to help people and they want you to team up with someone who will sharpen you and hold you accountable but also who you can call when you are feeling vulnerable and weak. They will be there for you. You need this spiritually too.
Ex. Chris – I have a guy like that in my life. Chris. Chris and I meet each week, we talk about spiritual things, we hold each other accountable and we sharpen each other. I can also call him anytime I am hurting or feeling weak or depressed, and he spiritually encourages me. He is a very valuable friend to me.
Who is your soul sharpener? Who are you a soul sharpener for?
A third relationship you need is a mentor. A mentor is usually someone who is older, more seasoned, and has been through some of the things you are going through and is able to help you, advise you, and guide you in life. Notice Paul’s words in 1 Cor. 11:1:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Cor. 11:1
One of the things I admire about Paul is that he was always mentoring someone. He must have learned this early on in his life because he always seem to be taking a younger man under his wings and working with him to teach him; especially in Paul’s case of doing ministry. We know he had Mark, Barnabas, et al. A mentor invests in someone, pours into them, teaches them the ropes, and in many ways wants the one they are mentoring to do bigger and better things than they can do.
Ex. Roger – In my life I have a guy named Roger who does that for me. We meet once a month and he used to be a pastor. He pours into me and directs me and guides me unselfishly and all for the purpose of building me up and seeing this church grow and thrive.
This is a good model for church ministry too. We should be finding people to pour into so that they can take over for us and really do so much more than we ever could.
Who is your mentor? Who are you a mentor for?
- Heart Healers
A fourth relationship we all need is a heart healer. A heart healer is that person you can turn to in a time of need, a time of hurt, a time where you just need to be encouraged and ministered to. It’s a person who will love you no matter what. Ther is a great example of this in the Bible; David and Jonathan.
“And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 20:17
Some people have tried to make more of this relationship than what it really was. Jonathan and David were the closest for friends. They loved each other as brothers. They were always there for each other.
Here is the thing about heart healers; you are vulnerable, you have to humble yourself, you have to be open, and they will stick close. You can talk to them about anything and they will be there for you. You can be completely raw with them. The thing about a heart healer, you leave them feeling better and in a better emotional state. They minister to your heart.
Ex. Mike – In my life I have a guy named Mike. I can tell him anything and he’ll still love me. I can be completely open and honest and know I will not be judged but will be supported and cared for.
Who is your heart healer? Who are you a heart healer for?
- Tail Kickers
And fifth, we all need that relationship that is a pretty tough one, a tail kicker. This is that person that will be brutally honest with you. They will tell you what you don’t want to hear. Don’t you love it when people make you feel good and loved and affirmed? Sure. But a tail kicker will tell you what you need to hear but in a loving, honest, and sometimes pretty straight forward way. A tail kicker is not an easy job. You have to be willing to go out on a limb and you always run the risk of being cut off or unfriended. Solomon said in Prov. 27:6:
“Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27:6
Solomon is telling us how we love to hear nice things but someone who is willing to tell us the truth in love and in a kind manner, they are someone you can trust.
There is a great story of this in the Bible in 1 Kings 22. The Israelites have a king named Ahab. He can’t stand the prophet Micaiah because his prophesies aer always against Israel. Well Israel is about to go to war and they want to inquire of the Lord if they should and if they will be victorious. They ask all the prophets and they all say to go with God’s blessing that they will win. The king calls for Micaiah and asks him. He‘s been prepped to tell the king what he wants to hear so he says to go with God’s blessing. The king says, “Come on, tell me the truth.” So Micaiah tells him that he shouldn’t go because he will lose. Then the king says: “See, I told you he always prophesies something bad.,” and then has him thrown in prison.
A tail kicker can be a thankless job and it’s not an easy one.
Ex. Don’t have one right now
Who is your tail kicker? Who are you a tail kicker for?
Real Friends Are Worth Their Weight In Gold
So what we have discovered is that you need people like this in your life and they are not all the same person. Sometimes they are only there for a season. One warning, I am not talking about a spouse here. A spouse can fill these roles too but they can’t be everything to you all the time. As Townsend and Cloud said you need a support group. This is no slight on your spouse, it’s that we need and were created for relationships and when you have these support pillars, you have hope.
The other thing is it does take us back to the one person that can fulfill all these roles in our life, Jesus Christ.