“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:12-13 (NASB)
With seven children, my parents implemented the Buddy System early on. My eldest brother usually got to bring a friend, or paired up with our mom. Jay and Darren were buddies, Holly and Buffy, and me and Amy. Two-by-two, we enjoyed so many amazing outings! Mom often dressed us in matching colors, and we each were responsible to hold hands and keep track of our buddies.
This system didn’t end on our day trips. My parents also paired us for household chores, projects, neighborhood errands, and playtime. Work goes faster with a friend, and many hands make light work and shared consequences. There’s safety in numbers, and hopefully a better sense of direction. If challenged with a task that seemed too big or too scary for our little souls, we always had our buddy to lean on, rely on, defer to, and get into trouble with.
Each of us only sees and knows in part. Many times, having a friend or a partner in any task helps fuel our energy, courage, ability, knowledge, and excitement for what lies ahead. We see this truth throughout scripture. Let’s look at Judges 4. Deborah was a prophetess and judge for Israel. She sat under the palms between Ramah and Bethel, and the Israelites would go up to her for judgment. Judges 4:6-10 (HCSB) reports:
She summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “Hasn’t the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you: ‘Go, deploy the troops on Mount Tabor, and take with you 10,000 men from the Naphtalites and Zebulunites? Then I will lure Sisera commander of Jabin’s forces, his chariots, and his army at the Wadi Kishon to fight against you, and I will hand him over to you.’” Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go. But if you will not go with me, I will not go.” “I will go with you,” she said, “but you will receive no honor on the road you are about to take, because the Lord will sell Sisera into a woman’s hand.” So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; 10,000 men followed him, and Deborah also went with him.
A prophetess, Deborah discerned the will of the Lord concerning Barak. Barak confirmed the instructions. However, he did not want to go alone. He needed reinforcement. He wanted another to go with him. But not just anyone. The prophetess and judge. She would help him.
In the Old Testament, Jesus had not yet come. He had not suffered death, resurrected, and sent the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus, the Holy Spirit rested upon the prophets and prophetesses, or an angel of the Lord. These messengers of God provided instruction, direction, and hope to the hearers.
As New Testament believers, we have been given a deposit of God’s Spirit and He provides wisdom, discernment, comfort, guidance, and truth. The Holy Spirit is our Helper. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Jesus is the righteous Judge and His Spirit is always with us. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. God is our best buddy ever!
Even in that, God knew we would need others. He said in the creation of man that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God created us for relationships. Everyone needs someone. When Jesus sent the disciples out, He sent them two-by-two. Before Jesus ascended, He instructed the Christ-followers to gather together and wait for power from on high. When Paul ventured out to share the Gospel, he paired with Barnabus, Silas, and others throughout his journeys.
Partnering with others increases our abilities, courage, strength, and safety, as well as our joy, satisfaction, purpose, and accomplishments. God knew this from the very beginning. As we surrender to help others, just as Deborah agreed to go with Barak, even as Eve was created as a helpmate for Adam, the perfect law of Love can be fulfilled. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2 (HCSB):
Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
The buddy system allows for challenges to be shared, vision to be expanded, security to be enforced, and joy to be fulfilled. Piece by piece, step by step, we are called to help one another be more together than we can be alone. The fullness of those accomplishments may not be seen or imagined until we choose to partner with another. My childhood buddy was my sister, Amy. She’s still my friend today… And oh, the stories of shared challenges, courage—and consequences—we could tell!
Do you have a buddy to lean on? Can others rely upon you? Enlarge your vision and your abilities by pairing up with someone. God intended us to be a friend with others in His purpose-filled plan. There’s no greater love. Find a buddy. Be a buddy. Let’s keep His system going!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: John 5:26-29, 14:15-18, 15:12-13; Judges 4:4-10; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, 21-22; Revelation 19:10; Hebrews 13:5-8; Genesis 2:18; Luke 24:50-53; Acts 11:25-26, 15:40-41; Galatians 6:2