Comforting or Comfortable?
2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 says:
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
Sometimes I wonder just how much I fall short of doing the best job I can in serving God. This week, for some reason, I’ve been very introspective, looking at how I stack up to living exactly how I should be. Any “comfort” verse I’ve studied or read during the past few days just seem to catch my attention like never before. I feel like I need to just stop and think about if and how I comfort others. So, I’ll do this now and I encourage you to do the same.
Last week I was studying in preparation of teaching a Sunday school lesson, and the lesson focused on the coming of the Lord. But for me the focus immediately turned to how we should provide comfort for others. I just couldn’t let my mind wander from this thought. So then I began to wonder if I am working as diligently as possible to comfort others in their needs or am I just comfortable in my ways, and consequently failing to serve God through serving others.
There’s such a huge difference in those two similar words, comforting and comfortable. The truth is everyone needs comforted throughout his or her entire life. Christians need this just as much as non-Christians do. The thing is, non-Christians need comforted much more and much differently than we do simply because they don’t tap into that wonderful, sure resource that we have.
I think we take the Bible and our relationships with God for granted many times. As I have been thinking about this, I realize that just about every time I’m feeling down, I look to my Bible as a source of uplifting and encouragement. But a non-Christian almost never does this. They don’t because they don’t know. Almost anyone in the world would never turn down an opportunity to feel better about the situations they face. They feel alone, without any answers and comfortless. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says,“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” We have the perfect words for the perfect person in the very circumstance God has set for us. Both non-Christians as well as we cannot afford to remain comfortable and let so many people live day to day without comforting them with the saving grace of our God.
So, for us who are “comfortable,” why don’t we help these people who clearly demonstrate a need that we have a clear answer for? And for us who are “comforting,” are we going that extra mile to really jump out of our comfort zones and reach out to everyone we see in need? Matthew 28:19 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
I know that because of my unusually excessive introspection this week and because of the Holy Spirit working inside me, I will be the comforting servant and I will not be the comfortable. Again, I invite you to do the same. “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do,” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).