All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

Take a look around your church.  No, I’m not talking about the color of the carpet, or the style of the building.  In fact, I’m not talking about the place at all, but rather the real structure of the church…the people.  And I’m not talking about the number of people, or their age, or the style of their clothing.  Take a good long look at the condition of the people.  Does that mom look particularly tired this Sunday?  Is that father’s brow a little more furrowed than usual?  Was that the lingering smell of alcohol on that teenager that just passed?

What do you think brought that newcomer to your church this week?  Do you think they heard about your great music program?  Did that young woman come here because she heard about your terrific singles fellowship?  Perhaps they came because they heard that our doctrine and orthodoxy was correct.  Or maybe….just maybe many of these people came to see if they might find a moment’s respite from the troubles they are dealing with.  Could that be?  Is that the kind of reputation your church has?  How many of the people gathered this Sunday are there looking for somebody…anybody who really cares?  And do we?  Do we really?  I hear about churches who say they care about people, but do we care for them?

I’ve been spending alot of time reading and rereading 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 recently.  Yesterday it occured to me to replace all the places that verses 3-4 uses the word “comfort” with the word “care.”  When people are troubled are we really able…are we really willing to give the same “care” that God has given us?  1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”  If we, The Church, are His representatives and we are the means of His grace and mercy, can we truly say to a damaged and hurting world, “Give all your cares and worries to us, for we care about you?”


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