A Comfort 

~~MTS-4552
A Comfort
“These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.”               Col. 4:11
    The apostle was by no means feeling sorry for himself; he was merely stating the fact. In a time of great trial, Paul was standing alone, practically by himself.
    There were a few Jews there standing by him at the time, including the young John Mark. Luke the doctor was there as well.
    That’s what suffering does to people, really. Difficulty separates and isolates, and the greater the suffering is, the greater loneliness it causes. Tribulation does cause people to feel that they are utterly deserted by God, as well as by people.
    It wasn’t considered major surgery, according to my son, who is an EM doctor. Yet I have never felt so alone in my entire life as I was lying on a cold gurney, waiting to be operated on.
    Suffering and death can only be dealt with individually.
    “These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.” Paul wrote.
    What could they have done for him at the time but at least offer to the apostle a few words of comfort, which amounted to nothing and could not have availed much. Indeed, old Job might have preferred to suffer affliction all by himself, for his three friends didn’t seem to add anything to him at the time of his excruciating pain. All he wanted at the time was silence.
    What makes illness and death so unbearable is the world seems to be moving forward without us and our not being there doesn’t seem to make the slightest difference either/or. We will all come to realize that our existence really isn’t all that important to the world, and to the people of our inner and outer circles. People always manage to move on without us.
    Thus, why even mention that only a few people even cared at the time of his suffering and imprisonment? Was it a sign of Paul’s spiritual weakness and instability?
    As things go concerning a situation such as the apostle was facing, doing something is far better than doing nothing at all. We all cry for help when suffering strikes and it is always comforting to have people standing by our side, causing us to realize that we are treasured and loved, and our presence in the world does make a great difference in people’s lives.
    Does it even matter whether I pay this man a visit? I murmured to myself. Surely his dire situation will not improve by my occasional visits. Yet I went anyway and my visit did bring a little laughter to his weary face. That was quite enough, I suppose.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Friday, December 14, 2018 7:37:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Full of Grace 

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MTS-4551     

Full of Grace

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”        Col. 4:6

     Words are the greatest resource that we possess by which we can bless others. We may not be equipped to bless others with material things, yet we can readily greet people with good words. Kind words cost nothing, yet what they may do to others is everything.

    We are not always aware of the enormous creative power that our words possess; therefore we either squander them by telling jokes or uttering idle words, which produce nothing but a little laughter.

    Being funny seems to be deemed as virtuous among young people, and the ones who can crack jokes are coined as people with a personality. “O he is just so funny!” I used to have great difficulty figuring out the reason why this is supposed to be some sort of compliment.

    Jokes are often told at other people’s expense, aren’t they? Indeed, all the evening talk shows seem to aim to amuse people and to make them laugh, and we don’t think much about it unless the jokes are on us, or on the ones whom we love. In most cases, jokes are far more destructive than constructive, absolutely unproductive except to generate a laugh or two.

    If we are saved by God’s grace, our mission in life is to bestow grace on others and make the world a joyful place. Our lives should be depicted by Yeats’ moving lines in his prayer for his daughter:

  May she become a flourishing hidden tree

That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,

And have no business but dispensing round

Their magnanimities of sound…”

    The “magnanimities of sound” that we make and “dispense round” should always be sounds of grace and good will. We may not have any earthly idea what kind of heavenly result the good and encouraging words that we speak to other people may ultimately generate. One thing for sure though, they will not return to us void, for the creative power of words, be they constructive or destructive, is continual and ongoing, until they achieve their purposes.

    Grace is eternal, so are words seasoned with salt, aiming to build people up and to bring them closer to the throne of grace. Our goal in life is actually rather simple: we are to be rooted in the Lord of grace so that we can be full of grace when we deal with others. May we be dispensers of grace in the world, not destroyers of it.

 

 

 

Posted by Robert Sea Thursday, December 13, 2018 7:54:00 AM Categories: Devotional

Be Wise 

~~MTS-4550
Be Wise
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”                   Col. 4:5
“Would you like to donate to a good cause?” I was asked when I was checking out at a local grocery store.
  “No, not at this time,” I responded without paying much attention to the question. Why should I donate money to some institution or random cause of which I have zero knowledge?”
    “Are you Mr. Sea?” I was puzzled at the question. It turned out that the young man was my wife’s student when he was in high school.
    For some reason I became a little uneasy and instantly started to think whether I had done anything unseemly during our brief encounter. I should have decided to donate some money toward what he had mentioned, for by doing so I would have made a better impression on someone who happened to know me. It was a little too late to do that, unfortunately.
    What difference did it make, really? I should act consistently to who I am as a Christian, both before friends as well as strangers, shouldn’t I? I am merely a hypocrite if I fail to do so, and am doing things only to be seen or to be recognized as a person of good repute.
    “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
    I had no earthly idea that it was a perfect opportunity for me to shine as God’s witness by being kind to the cashier I met and more receptive to his request to make a donation. Yet the chance was forever lost because of my lack of vigilance. I could possibly have entertained an angel had I been a little more agreeable at the time. At the least he might have commented to his friends after we met that his teacher’s husband was just as kind and nice as his teacher.
    Indeed, the opportunity was lost, yet I haven’t always missed the occasion to act “wisely” toward outsiders when the chance presented itself. This event was something I wrote about previously and it deserves repeating since it’s relevant to my discussion. It also happened at a grocery store when I took an opportunity to empty out my wallet to help a lady in need. I am by no means patting myself on the back by bringing this up; I am merely reminding myself to develop a sense of urgency when I deal with outsiders, and to always try to find occasions to bear good witness for Christ.
    If we try to look for opportunities to do good to people, opportunities will always present themselves in the most obscure places. Surely the Lord knew what he was talking about when he uttered: “The poor you should have with you always”
    Of course he wasn’t just mentioning the poor in passing.

 

Posted by Robert Sea Wednesday, December 12, 2018 7:21:00 AM Categories: Devotional
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