Why We Cannot Stand Alone
“Two are better than one . . . If one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up.”—King Solomon
KING SOLOMON of ancient Israel declared: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10) This wise observer of human behavior thus highlights our need for companionship and the importance of not isolating ourselves. However, this was not just human opinion. Solomon’s statement resulted from divine wisdom and inspiration.
It is not wise to isolate ourselves. People need one another. All of us need the strength and help that we can get from other humans. “One isolating himself will seek his own selfish longing,” says a Bible proverb. “Against all practical wisdom he will break forth.” (Proverbs 18:1) So it is not strange that social scientists encourage individuals to become part of a group and to take an interest in others.
Among recommendations for reviving community life, Professor Robert Putnam mentions “strengthening the influence of spiritual faith.” Jehovah’s Witnesses are outstanding in this respect because they enjoy protection in familylike congregations around the earth. In harmony with the words of the apostle Peter, they “have love for the whole association of brothers,” who have reverential “fear of God.” (1 Peter 2:17) The Witnesses also avoid isolation and its detrimental effects because the many positive activities linked with true worship keep them involved in helping their neighbors to learn the truth found in God’s Word, the Bible.—2 Timothy 2:15.
Love and Companionship Changed Their Lives
Jehovah’s Witnesses constitute a united community in which every member plays an important role. For example, consider the case of Miguel, Froylán, and Alma Ruth, three members of the same Latin-American family. They were born with a bone disorder that produces a type of dwarfism. All three are confined to wheelchairs. How has association with the Witnesses affected their lives?
Miguel comments: “I went through periods of crisis, but when I began to associate with Jehovah’s people, my life changed. Isolating oneself is very dangerous. Associating with fellow believers at Christian meetings, being with them every week, greatly helped me to find contentment and satisfaction.”
Alma Ruth adds: “I used to have moments of great depression; I felt very sad. But upon learning about Jehovah, I felt that I could have a close relationship with him. That came to be the most valuable thing in life for me. My family has supported us a lot, and that has united us more.”
Miguel’s father lovingly taught Miguel to read and write. Then Miguel helped Froylán and Alma Ruth to do the same. This was essential for their spirituality. “Learning to read benefited us greatly because then we could be nourished spiritually by reading the Bible and Bible-based publications,” says Alma Ruth.
At present, Miguel serves as a Christian elder. Froylán has read the Bible through nine times. Alma Ruth has widened out her service to Jehovah by serving as a pioneer minister, or full-time Kingdom proclaimer, since 1996. She comments: “With Jehovah’s blessing I have reached this goal, as I have the support of my dear sisters who help me not only to preach but also to teach by conducting the 11 Bible studies that I have been able to start.”
Another fine example has been set by Emelia, who had an accident that requires her to use a wheelchair because of injuries to her legs and spine. Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico City studied the Bible with her, and she was baptized in 1996. Emelia says: “Before knowing the truth, I wanted to kill myself; I didn’t want to live anymore. I felt a great emptiness, crying day and night. But when I associated with Jehovah’s people, I felt the love of the brothers. The personal interest they show in me has been an encouragement. One of the elders has been like a brother or father to me. He and certain ministerial servants take me to the meetings and in the preaching work in my wheelchair.”
José, who was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1992, lives alone. He is 70 years old, having retired in 1990. José used to experience depression, but after a Witness preached to him, he immediately began to attend Christian meetings. He liked what he heard and saw there. For instance, he observed the companionship of the brothers and felt their concern for him as a person. The elders and ministerial servants in his congregation now look after him. (Philippians 1:1; 1 Peter 5:2) Such fellow believers are “a strengthening aid” to him. (Colossians 4:11) They take him to the doctor, visit him in his home, and have supported him during his four operations. He says: “They show concern for me. They are really my family. I enjoy their companionship.”
There Is True Happiness in Giving
When King Solomon said that “two are better than one,” he had just spoken about the futility of devoting all one’s energies to the acquiring of material riches. (Ecclesiastes 4:7-9) That is precisely what many eagerly pursue today, even though this means sacrificing human relationships both inside and outside the family.
That spirit of greed and selfishness has led many to isolate themselves. This has brought them neither happiness nor satisfaction in life, for frustration and hopelessness are common among those who succumb to such a spirit. In contrast, the accounts just related show the good effects of associating with those who serve Jehovah and who are motivated by love for him and for their neighbor. Regular presence at Christian meetings, the support and concern of fellow Christians, and zealous activity in the ministry were vital factors in helping these individuals to overcome negative feelings associated with isolation.—Proverbs 17:17; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
Since we depend on one another, it is natural that doing things for others produces satisfaction. Albert Einstein, whose work benefited others, said: “The value of a man . . . should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.” This is in agreement with these words of our Lord Jesus Christ: “There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (Acts 20:35) Therefore, while it is good to receive love, it is also very healthy to show love for others.
A traveling overseer who for years has visited congregations to offer spiritual assistance and who has helped to build meeting places for Christians of little means expresses his feelings in this way: “The joy of serving my brothers and seeing their faces full of appreciation moves me to continue seeking opportunities to help. My experience has been that showing personal interest in others is the key to happiness. And I know that as elders, we should be ‘like a hiding place from the wind . . . , like streams of water in a waterless country, like the shadow of a heavy crag in an exhausted land.’”—Isaiah 32:2.
How Pleasant to Dwell Together in Unity!
Surely there is great benefit and true happiness in helping others and in seeking companionship with those who serve Jehovah. “Look!” exclaimed the psalmist. “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) Family unity is a vital factor in supporting one another, as shown in the case of Miguel, Froylán, and Alma Ruth. And what a blessing it is to be united with one another in true worship! After giving counsel to Christian husbands and wives, the apostle Peter wrote: “Finally, all of you be like-minded, showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate, humble in mind.”—1 Peter 3:8.
Genuine friendship brings great benefits, both emotionally and spiritually. Addressing companions in the faith, the apostle Paul exhorts: “Speak consolingly to the depressed souls, support the weak, be long-suffering toward all. . . . Always pursue what is good toward one another and to all others.”—1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15.
Therefore, look for practical ways to do good to others. “Work what is good toward all, but especially toward those related to [you] in the faith,” for this will add real meaning to your life and will contribute to your contentment and satisfaction. (Galatians 6:9, 10) Jesus’ disciple James wrote: “If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them: ‘Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,’ but you do not give them the necessities for their body, of what benefit is it?” (James 2:15, 16) The answer to that question is obvious. We need to ‘keep an eye, not in personal interest upon just our own matters, but also in personal interest upon those of the others.’—Philippians 2:4.
In addition to helping others materially when there is a special need or when some disaster occurs, Jehovah’s Witnesses are very busy benefiting fellow humans in a vitally important way—by preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 24:14) The participation of over 6,000,000 Witnesses in proclaiming this message of hope and comfort is evidence of their genuine, loving interest in others. But providing help from the Holy Scriptures also helps to meet another human need. What is that?
Meeting a Vital Need
To enjoy genuine happiness, we need to have a proper relationship with God. It has been said: “The fact that man, everywhere at all times, from the beginning to the present day, has felt the impulse to call upon something he believed to be higher and more powerful than himself, shows that religion is innate and should be scientifically recognized. . . . We should stand in awe, amazement and reverence to see the universality of man’s search for, and belief in, a supreme being.”—Man Does Not Stand Alone, by A. Cressy Morrison.
Jesus Christ declared: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need.” (Matthew 5:3) People do not fare well in prolonged isolation from other humans. However, it is far more serious to isolate ourselves from our Creator. (Revelation 4:11) Acquiring and applying “the very knowledge of God” should be an important element in our life. (Proverbs 2:1-5) Indeed, we should be determined to satisfy our spiritual need, for we cannot stand alone and apart from God. A happy and truly rewarding life depends on a good relationship with Jehovah, “the Most High over all the earth.”—Psalm 83:18.
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Miguel: “I went through periods of crisis, but when I began to associate with Jehovah’s people, my life changed”
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Alma Ruth: “Upon learning about Jehovah, I felt that I could have a close relationship with him”
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Emelia: “Before knowing the truth, . . . I felt a great emptiness”
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Associating with true worshipers helps to satisfy our spiritual need