This morning while on a walk, I noticed a small millipede crossing the road. All of his legs were working in unison to move him along his way. What a lucky little creature to have so many limbs to rely on. He seemed to glide along its pathway without hindrance or hesitation. We bipeds are not so fortunate. Only two legs to stand on, and if one is injured we are pretty much stranded and unable to move without help of some kind.
This visual brings a new perspective to the verses from Ecclesiastes 4 that say, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.” [4:9-10 NLT] Solomon, the writer of this saying, sees the benefit of having a friend to help—If you fall you have “another to lift [you] up!” [AMP]
Let’s take this idea of helping one another to a new level. What if we were like that tiny creature the millipede, and our legs numbered anywhere between 36 and 400? That kind of support would certainly make an impact on our lives as we move along life’s path. This is where friends, small groups, ministry partners, and church fellowships come in. They are the multiplication factor when it comes to having others to share the joys and struggles of daily living. The writer of Hebrews urges us to “… not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” in order to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:25, 24 NIV
Paul also spoke of this idea of supporting each other in his second letter to the Corinthian church–
“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God. . . And you are helping us by praying for us. Then, many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”
2 Corinthians 1:8-11
“Helping us by praying. . ..” is a factor in “leg multiplication”. These people literally came alongside and carried Paul and Timothy with their prayers. In addition, the words encourage, build up, serve, do good, share with and love found in the New Testament speak of how we should relate to each other. When we come to help one another and put these words into action, everyone benefits. And these benefits are not just added to individuals, they are multiplied throughout the whole group.
Another thing I observed about the millipede was more legs also means more stability and ease as he went along his way. As I watched this little creature whose legs work so well in unison scurry off, I could picture a life that can seem to glide along when we work together and watch out for one another. Life seems a little easier, we feel encouraged, and the even the joy we share is multiplied. What a wondrous thing it is to have each other’s legs to stand on as we move along the path of life!
“May God, who gives this patience and encouragement [waiting for his promises to be fulfilled], help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”