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Dec 31, 2010

Don’t Be a Christian Lone Ranger

In Mark 6:7 we read that Jesus sent out the disciples “two by two” to proclaim the gospel and preach repentance, to cast out demons, and to heal the sick. Then in Luke 10 we also read of Jesus sending out seventy-two others, again “two by two”, to preach and to heal.

What was the wisdom of Jesus to send out his kingdom workers in pairs? Why not send them out as individuals? After all, with so few disciples in the beginning, couldn’t God have reached twice as many sick and lost souls if he didn’t double up on his missionary teams? Couldn’t even spiritual giants like Peter, Paul, and other apostles fly solo? Did they really need the buddy system?

Of course Jesus knew what he was doing when he deployed his disciples in pairs, and his timeless wisdom still applies to us today. In Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, we read that “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

I don't think the magic number is just two either.  Proverbs says there is wisdom in many counselors.  David had his best friend Johnathan, but also travelled and fought with his band of mighty men.  Even Jesus himself called Peter, James, and John to his side to be with him for both his greatest trials as well as his most glorious moments.  The point is, we need other men along side of us to best experience our lives as men of God.  Having a trustworthy friend and partner by your side has many advantages.  We need someone to count on, to rely on, and to share in the work to which God has called us.

For most of us married men, the first partner who comes to mind is our wife, and rightly so. Our wife is united with us in life, in ministry, and in our spiritual walk in general. In a good marriage, we experience and share everything of substance, good and bad, throughout our marriage and life together. This is a blessing from God. But as married men, we sometimes lose or neglect our ability and responsibility to foster close friendships with other men. Especially when we’re blessed with a wife who we can honestly call our best friend, we can fall into a comfort zone where our wife and children become our only close relationships and we lose the benefit of what other men could and should provide as well.

So men, don’t forget, God also has in mind that we share our walk and our work with other men. Jesus sent out his disciples, even the married ones such as Peter, with another man for a partner. There is something essential about sharing our lives and our ministry work with other Christian men. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, but here are my top reasons for going out into the world “two by two” with other godly men.
  1. Protect and support one another.
  2. Encourage mutual development and sanctification, “as iron sharpens iron.”
  3. Rejoice in the triumphs and share in the burdens and trials.
  4. Complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. (Think Moses and Aaron or Paul and his missionary partners)
  5. Hold each other accountable; exhort one another in truth and love.
God never designed us to be lone rangers in the world. As I wrote once before, not even the Lone Ranger himself was alone. He fought evil and went through life with the constant support of a faithful friend by his side. And so should you and I. Pray today for God to bring other men into your life who you can partner with and become mutually accountable to. Step out of your comfort zone and engage other men in more than superficial talk after church about sports and politics. Follow the model our Lord gave to his disciples and strive to go out into the world “two by two”. God doesn’t expect us to be lone rangers.

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