It all started with a long Saturday afternoon of research.  I could feel the stress trying to overwhelm me with three work-related presentations on the horizon and a stack of deadlines looming a mile high; I was cracking under the pressure.  Finally, there was only an hour remaining before I had to leave for a practice session for an upcoming worship service.  It wasn’t enough time to get involved in a project, so I turned to my computer.  I could only think of one thing that would not only occupy my free time but would also have the potential to calm my frazzled nerves. 

Each week, our church records the worship service and posts the sermon on the website.  I had missed last week’s message since I was out of town, so I decided to check into the website and listen to the sermon.  I quickly realized there was nothing better than God’s timing, for it was obvious He had planned for me to hear Pastor Tim’s sermon at exactly the time I needed it. 

Pastor based his message on a passage from Ecclesiastes 4 in which he spoke of the concept of two being better than one.  He pointed out that our current culture continually encourages us as people to rely on ourselves and our own goals and dreams; we are self-sufficient and self-focused.  We are immersed in technology where it is not always convenient to initiate a conversation with someone face-to-face.  We would rather send a quick email or text message in order to make our interaction with someone brief in nature.  We are isolated from one another in today’s society whether we choose to admit it or not.

Now I love a good time of social interaction— friends gathered around for a good meal and conversation or a nice chat on the telephone.  But I have found when it comes to my work and career, I tend to isolate myself in an effort to succeed at my own goals and initiative.  For nearly four years, I could get away with this to some degree; I was and still am an independent musician and author.  The choices I made affected me and only me.  Yes, I was serving the Lord and had a higher calling through my work, but still, my actions really only affected my personal life and not the lives of others or even an organization.

Well, that has all changed in recent months as I have assumed leadership with the camp I have been working with for the past few years.  In being teamed with another colleague, I have discovered how important it is to rely on teamwork and to embody the idea that two is indeed better than one.  Although we are blazing a new trail into the unknown, the journey doesn’t seem nearly as terrifying with someone at my side.  Together, we will bring others alongside us to make YLF a valuable organization of the future. 

Pastor’s sermon struck a cord with me as I thought about the two people who have reached out to me this week in an effort to build relationship and strengthen a bond.  The first was my camp colleague who could have sent me a simple email with his questions and concerns, but instead, he called me to talk everything through.  Our conversation lasted for nearly an hour-and-a-half, and when I hung up the phone, I felt reenergized and ready to take on the tasks of our newly formed organization.

I experienced similar feelings after a conversation with my best friend the next day.  She called to confirm a few dates on her calendar of times we would be getting together, and in due course, our conversation shifted to the stress that existed in both of our lives.  We were able to talk out our feelings and build each other up through encouragement and support.  I was reminded once more that two is better than one, and I hadn’t even heard Pastor’s sermon yet.  Even then, God was teaching me about relationship and community.

So where am I going with this?  Well, it’s rather simple.  I am writing to encourage each one of you to step out and make contact with those you love.  The recent recognition of September 11 reminded me about the importance of connecting with friends and family, for you never know when tragedy could strike and draw you apart forever.  Be thankful for those in your life, for God is using them to make you the person you are today and will be in the future.  Build relationships that are based in Him, for as we read in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

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