Summary: No trial, no comfort and being comfortable is poverty.

We live in a day when there is much hardship, sorrow, guilt and untimely deaths. People seek comfort for their sorrows in many ways. Many turn to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, sex and even food to feel better or to forget their pain for a while. Sadly, the pain returns and often the temporary cures bring on other physical and emotional problems worse then what they were used to “cure.” How many crimes were committed and children conceived while under the influence of some means of comfort? How many were killed or injured under their influence? How many have suffered long drawn out diseases that killed them from partaking of their favorite source of comfort? By seeking to escape rather than confront their sorrows and find true solace they ended up worse then they started.

I understand this process. I had often sought Southern Comfort and the solace provided by Jack Daniels and Jim Beam only to end up in crying jags, sick and hung over rather than truly comforted. The odd part was that growing up I had seen many people seek those sources for comfort and never achieve it but I was stupid enough to endeavor to find what they never could in the same place they came up empty. The deceitfulness of sin is very good at what it does. I have used food as a friend, counselor, and entertainment when I was lonely and that has had its health consequences. I know about seeking comfort in all the wrong places.

Christians know the source of true comfort but they do not want to be comforted. They want to be comfortable and remain stress, worry and trouble free in this life and that is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. First world Christians can achieve a semblance of this fairy tale because they have so many things to keep them comfortable and in denial rather than denying themselves. Church attendance fluctuates with the weather and in Texas that is quite frequent and often unpredictable. Christian service is at best sporadic since it occurs only when it is convenient and there is not a ball game or concert or a fly on the wall to preclude it. You say a fly on the wall? One excuse is as good as another and most of them are as strange and facetious as that one.

I want us to look at a premier passage on comfort and see where the true source of comfort lies as well as dispel the myth that when God comforts it leads us to a comfortable life. Please turn to 2 Corinthians 1:1-11

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

While there are many discussions over the “call” of ministers and the will of God Paul never had those issues he knew he was what he was because God had willed it. He would not be there otherwise. Yes, he had a miraculous call but those who are called to minister really know it in some way. I know I have had second thoughts over the years and have even tried to walk away from it because ministry has not always been a thrill and I am not a masochist at heart. I try to avoid needless pain as much as possible. I have tried to quit but I can’t do it. While there is a lot of freedom in being a tentmaker I long to be in fulltime service even after all I have been through and have seen other pastors go through. It is a “woe unto me” situation if I do not exercise my gifts. Ministry is not always comfortable but there is comfort.

Timothy had to fight all kinds of barriers to his ministry even though he had Paul as his mentor and supporter. He was not truly biracial for there is only one race and that is human. He did have two different cultures. His Dad was Greek and his Mom a Jew. His parents had to be in love for the Greeks despised the Jews and the Jews hated Gentiles and both despised a person who was mixed. Besides that he was a very young man. He became pastor of the church at Ephesus when he was only 21. In the Jewish culture you did not become a man until you were thirty and could not sit on the Sanhedrin unless you were thirty and married. We are not told directly that Timothy was married but we know that Paul had said that a pastor was to be a husband of one wife. We do know that he had to tell Timothy to let that no man despise his youth.

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