04 Sep Words of Grace – Comfort One Another
I recently sat with a small group of pastors for an afternoon conversation. We do this regularly enough to have developed a pattern. We each take our turn to give a brief update on life and ministry. Then we put our leadership challenges on the table for all to speak into.
In our last meeting we didn’t get through the update round before one of us laid bare his soul. He was struggling. At that point I watched with joy as the others of us brought comfort and encouragement to him. I noticed that the comfort given was from the heart of men who had themselves struggled and been comforted by God in various ways. We weren’t spouting off like Job’s friends; we were sharing the grace we had received.
This kind of mutual ministry is what we read about in the letter called 2 Corinthians. This letter is autobiographical. The Apostle Paul opens up his life and heart to the church in Corinth. He asks the church to open up their hearts to him. Their mutual ministry was to bring the comfort of Christ in each other’s afflictions and the strength of Christ to each one’s weakness.
Have you ever been a part of the mutual ministry of comfort and strength in Christ? This ministry is one of the rich experiences of being connected to Christ and his people. In this ministry, we simply give the grace we have received. Paul calls it, “comforting others with the comfort with which we have been comforted” (2 Corinthians 1:4).
I long for Grace Community Church to be a place of genuine ministry that brings Christ to afflicted souls in a way that comforts and gives strength. Grace is that place, and we would all like it to be more so.
This Sunday, we will take up 2 Corinthians 1 to find comfort in Christ and to gain fresh wisdom to bring Christ’s comfort to others.