If you have ever pulled a rope apart, or have at least seen how one is made, you know that a rope is basically a bunch of individual strings wound tightly together. Usually a rope is made of three groups of string. The string is wound tightly into a cord and then three cords are wound together to make a rope. Some larger ropes are made up of more groupings, but the concept is the same.
I recently read Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12:
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not easily broken.
This passage speaks volumes about the importance of the men of the church banding together for strength. By nature, men are loners. We are raised to believe that we can do it on our own. We don’t “need” anyone. We especially don’t need directions to our destination. Ever. We got this. After all, need shows weakness, right? And weakness is bad. I mean, we have entire sports designed for the sole purpose of giving men an audience to show off how strong they are. And don’t even think about crying. Nancy.
But is individual weakness really bad? ” But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 That’s a powerful statement. His power is made perfect in my weakness. So weakness isn’t bad, it’s what allows God to do His work through me.
In addition to that, individual weakness creates a need in us. A need for relationships. As men of the church, we need to be in relationship with other men who are walking with Christ. There is much strength in these relationships. That brings me back to the rope.
When I look at the men of the church, I see a lot of strings. I see a lot of men who come in with their wives and families on Sunday, but are not connected at all to the church. I also see a few cords mixed in. There are groups of men who are connected based on common interests. There are a few banded together because they like sports. Or a few because they like outdoor activities. There are small groups that get together for bible studies. But these groups aren’t connected to each other.
The desire of my heart is to see the men of the church become a rope. Think back to what a rope looks like. It is a bunch of strings wound tightly together for a single purpose, but if you look closely, you can still see the individual strings, and you can see the groups. The individual identities of men and the identities of the groups don’t get lost, but they are connected together for a single purpose. What is that purpose? The advancement of the Kingdom. That needs to be the general purpose of everything we do. Every event we have, program we run, and sports competition we participate in should be designed in such a way that we are advancing the Kingdom.
As I was sharing this thought with a friend the other day, he told me something about rope I didn’t know. He explained that every “good” rope has one string in it with the manufacturer’s name written down it. That sparked the thought in me that one of the strands in our rope is Jesus. Without him at the center of our rope, we will never have the strength we need to get the job done. We are not just banding together with other men. We are weaving ourselves tightly into relationship with Jesus!
I invite anyone who reads this to join with me. Wind yourself tightly into the rope along side me and together, we will do what we were designed to do. Make disciples of all men! Will you join?