For many around the world, life is getting lonelier. The number of Americans who have no friends has quadrupled since 1990. Certain European countries have up to 20 percent of their population feeling lonely, while in Japan, some elderly folks have resorted to crime so they can have the companionship of inmates in jail.
Entrepreneurs have come up with a “solution” to this loneliness epidemic—rent-a-friend. Hired by the hour, these people will meet you in a café to talk or accompany you to a party. One such “friend” was asked who her clientele was. “Lonely, 30- to 40-year-old professionals,” she said, “who work long hours and don’t have time to make many friends.”
Ecclesiastes 4 describes a person who is all alone, without “son nor brother.” There’s “no end” to this worker’s toil, yet his success isn’t fulfilling (verse 8). “For whom am I toiling . . . ?” he asks, waking up to his plight. Far better to invest in relationships, which will make his workload lighter and provide help in trouble (verses 9 to 12). Because, ultimately, success without friendship is “meaningless” (verse 8).
Ecclesiastes tells us that a cord of three strands isn’t quickly broken (verse 12). But neither is it quickly woven. Since true friends can’t be rented, let’s invest the time needed to form them, with God as our third strand, weaving us tightly together.
And that’s the Memo.