Devotional

Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

You’ve heard the appeal connected to clothes, shoes, mattresses, pillows, chairs, tires, airlines, hotels, HVACs, etc. What appeal? Comfort. The number of goods and services marketed on the basis of “comfort” is enormous. And it sells. Everyone likes comfort and will pay extra to get it.

Of course, “comfort” cannot always be bought and sold. In fact, the kind of comfort every soul needs the most is not for sale. It’s “soul- comfort” and it’s a gift of God. The gift is embodied and extended to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul calls Him “the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3) But there’s more.

Paul explains that God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)

The “so that” is the most important part. It informs us God’s comfort is intended to be shared. It is bestowed with purpose. In other words, the comfort God supplies is not only for our experience but for equipping us to comfort others. Paul is essentially saying, “Don’t keep it to yourselves; spread the comfort!”

Ministers throughout the area have been spreading the comfort for over a year. All the “Words of Comfort” shared are like a treasure chest full of gems for living. And the gems have been shared when people needed them most. The COVID epidemic has been a “comfort-thief.” But God’s Word is a “comfort-fount.” And the fount has flowed with words of life via this column.

If you have found God’s comfort in this season of trials, troubles and tribulations, be sure to share it. No “grace-gift” from God is a “one-and- done” proposition. Good news, including comfort, is intended to be spread and shared far and wide. And in the spreading and sharing, lo and behold, comes another comfort. The spreader or sharer is comforted to know another soul has been blessed. Ironically, that may be the greatest comfort of all.

An old 1758 hymn of the church by Robert Robinson prays, “Come Thou Fount of every blessing; Tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing; Call for songs of loudest praise.” The “heart to sing” and the “song of praise” in view is that of the blessed who blesses; the helped who helps; and, yes, the comforted who comforts.

The beneficiary of God is compelled to become a benefactor of others. It’s the unmistakable evidence that one understands grace as a gift. If you have been comforted by the graces of God, be sure to share it. Comfort can’t be comfortable until someone else is comforted.

Ed Clevinger is minister of Grace Christian Church in Kingsport.

Ed Clevinger is minister of Grace Christian Church in Kingsport.

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Ed Clevinger is minister of Grace Christian Church in Kingsport.