Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
These verses are often read during wedding ceremonies to remind us of the benefits of marriage. But the writer of Ecclesiastes isn't just referring to the relationship of husband and wife in this passage. He's talking about a reality that few of us in Western culture like to dwell on — we need each other.
Most of us strive to be independent and responsible for ourselves, believing we should be able to "make it on our own." And even when we do recognize our need for one another, our preference is to be the one giving help rather than the one receiving help.
The Kingdom of God is so contrary to our cultural tendencies at times! While the world tells us to function independently, the Word calls us to interdependence in the body of Christ and encourages mutual "edification" (encouragement and support).
These concepts of interdependence and edification lie at the heart of EMM's vision for the interaction among a missionary, his/her support team, and the mission agency.
The closing phrase of Ecclesiastes 4:12 provides a concrete image of this three-stranded relationship:
"A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
A missionary, the MST, and EMM — three strands woven together into a strong cord. Although each strand has strength of its own, three strands working separately will reach their breaking points more quickly than three strands woven together into one cord.
May we be woven together in unified mission vision, experiencing the strength and joy of interdependence!
“Working together, MST members develop systems of spiritual, relational, and financial support that uniquely fit the needs of workers serving around the world, increasing their resilience and fruitfulness in mission. EMM deeply values its MST partners and the vital role they play in mission.” — Barry Freed, MST coach