As a young boy living on my grandparents’ farm, I spent a good portion of my free time one summer perfecting my roping skills.

As a young man, my granddad spent some time breaking horses and learned quite a bit about roping in the process. The rope used needs to be tightly braided to properly lasso the calf or steer targeted.

My victim was usually a young calf, and I became fairly accomplished, but not from a horse. My roping always took place on foot in their cow pasture, and I didn’t become a horseman until I was a teenager.

After a bit of internet research, I was informed that the best ropes have a minimum of three strands of hemp or another sturdy material intertwined for strength and flexibility. There’s a special technique used in braiding that requires a consistent pattern.

Then again, this discussion will not be about lariats. What we’re going to dissect is the concept applied in braiding this cowboy tool and the analogy of an often-quoted phrase from Ecclesiastesa cord of three strands … poetically presented by King Solomon.

In Ecclesiastes 4:12 we read, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

So just where are we headed? Well, I believe there’s application in all aspects of life — personal, business and spiritual.

In the summer of 1985, I composed a poem, which was eloquently read during our marriage ceremony on Sept. 7 of that year.

The poem broaches the topic of “Two hearts beat as one with the heart of God” — as if the newlyweds were intricately intertwined with His Holy Spirit.

To this follower of Christ at least, that’s always been a beautiful representation of holy matrimony.

Marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. It requires 100% commitment of both parties in a covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father.

That’s what has gotten this couple through many trials, and our marriage gets sweeter and sweeter as we draw nearer and nearer to each other and the Holy Spirit.

That cord of three strands remains strong after all these years.

Through the many years working with business owners, I’ve seen quite a few businesses fall apart — partners who sadly decided the business relationship needed to come to an end.

Then again, I’ve also witnessed a number of businesses owned by Christians that have survived substantial challenges, and I’m certain the mutual relationship to their Heavenly Father has helped them weather the storms that have sadly sunk others.

There’s much found in the Book of Proverbs on how we should run our businesses.

One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 22:29: “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

Listen to the wisdom of Solomon presented in these two proverbs: In Proverbs 12:11 we learn “He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.” And in Proverbs 13:11 we are told “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

So, tell me, where are you spiritually? That’s a question I often ask new acquaintances in an attempt to discern where they are on their life journey.

Here’s my bottom line, and I believe it’s our Lord’s bottom line as well. We are lacking if we are attempting to live our days without the Holy Spirit, the missing strand, in whatever relationships we have.

Have you considered this truth? God’s Holy Trinity is also comprised of three strands and that’s the Complete Truth!

Passages to Ponder

Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at for more information. The opinions expressed are his own.