I’ve been thinking about the very biblical concept of “together.” That word first occurs in the first chapter of the Bible, verse nine, when we are told that the waters under the heaven were gathered together. It was in the order of creation, that some things be gathered together and were not made to exist alone. Man, in fact, is that way. The Bible says that God saw that it was not good for man to dwell alone, thus, He made him a helpmeet, Eve. “Together” is a principle established from the dawn of civilization as ordered and ordained of God. “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labor.” (Eccl. 4:9)
That’s true in the home, society’s most basic unit. We may not survive at all if we try to go it alone. For sure, we will benefit from a “togetherness” as a family unity. “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.” (Eccl. 4:10)
It’s surely true in the church. The church began as a group of believers assembled together (Acts 1:4). The last thing the Church will do will be when we are “caught up together with them (the dead in Christ who shall rise first) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air….” (I Thess. 4:17)
And, in the meantime, we do everything we do as a church together! Paul says we are perfectly joined together (I Cor. 1:10); and in Romans 1:2 he says we are comforted together. We are “striving together for the faith of the gospel.” (Phi. 1:27) We have been “knit together in love,” (Col. 2:2) and we have been “fitly joined together,” (Eph. 4:16) as a “building fitly framed together.” (Eph. 2:21) Thus, we are helpers “together by prayer” (2 Cor. 1:11) and “workers together with Him.” (2 Cor.6:1) Of course, we must remember to not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” (Hebs. 10:25)
Together is an idea you cannot escape. When Jesus commissioned seventy disciples to go spread the Word of the Kingdom, He sent them out together, two by two. He always ministered with a group of followers around Him. He seldom did anything (except prayer) alone; it was always “together” with someone or with many others.
Can we learn a lesson from this? You will not be as effective in serving Christ alone as you will with someone else. Soul-winning is a “together” ministry, as is any other kind of visitation. What would the choir be without folk who believe in practicing together? What about any of our worship services? The shutdown necessitated by Covid-19 has made it unquestionably apparent that even with advanced technology that enables us to work at home and to some degree worship at home, there is no substitute for in person interchanges believer to believer in corporate worship. God ordained it that way, therefore, we should covet a harmonious, sweet, holy togetherness. If we must live and work with others, it should be a priority that we learn how to live and work and worship with others in peace. That goes for home life, school life, work life and church life. Together can be and is, good!
An illustration from nature is appropriate here: In east Africa’s grasslands the rhinoceros is feared for its speed, size and agility in the wilds so much so that few animals challenge its strength and superiority. There is one little creature though, a bird, that is known to perch on the backs of these beasts pecking away with their beaks on the rhino’s back much like a woodpecker does on a tree. Other buffalo birds fly about the horned behemoth of a beast while some light upon its huge ears pecking away. The rhino has poor eyesight as well as a body covered with parasites which the birds feast upon. And, if another danger appears in the area, the birds let out with a shrill sound, warning the large mammal. So, it’s a “together” existence, the beast and the birds, all for the sake of survival. They complement each other, serve and protect each other and are able to survive and prosper. God ordained it so. We ought to learn from the animal kingdom and prosper, too, as we live together.
“Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet…and when they were come in, they went up into an upper room where abode Peter, and James, and John…These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and with His brethren.” (Acts 1:12-14)