By Scot Thigpen
The Ministry of Comforting
It had to be the worst day of his life. Everybody has bad days, but not like this one. In one of the greatest natural disasters ever recorded, every one of his children was killed. He had ten. Now they were all gone. All on the same day. Ten funerals to plan. How do you even get your head around it? How could this have happened to a wretched man, much less a man as upright as he was? His great wealth and prosperity were not what he lived for, but nonetheless, on the exact same devastating day, he lost it all. Simultaneously, across town was a horrific mass murder in which every one of his workers was killed. He was a man in need of comforting if there ever was one.
A lifetime of learning and lessons are found in this familiar story of Job. One of the greatest of which is if you want to know how to be about the worst friend a person could have. Job had three of them, namely Zophar, Bildaz, and Eliphaz. They were pathetic at comforting their friend Job. Do you want to be horrible at comforting others? Do what they did.
Fortunately, there are great positive lessons as well. Most of us have never, nor will ever, face anything as close to a loss as Job did. However, you know somebody right now, which that type of loss and the corresponding pain from it, seems very close to that for them. And that is when you can be a vessel of God’s blessing in a ministry of comforting.
Everybody (I would think) feels very inadequate in those times. If you listen to those who have and are experiencing massive loss, most of the time they will tell you what they need. Would you consider that your presence alone is all that is needed in those moments? Could you pray that in spite of all of your inadequacies, that God would grant you a ministry of your presence to be a vessel for Him to comfort those in need? In life, it is showing up that makes a world of difference.
None of us knows what lies ahead in 2018. One thing we can count on is that you will have countless people you know that your presence, friendship, encouragement, empathy, mercy, and love will be for them a ministry of comfort that just might give them a glimpse into the unfathomable love of the Father for them. When those times occur this year, would you be that willing participant in God’s ministry of comfort?
Do you know who does this best? Those who have been through trials of loss. For somebody to say the words, “I know what you are going through because I have been there,” could be some of the most comforting words we will ever hear. God grants them a ministry of comfort to others that is indescribable. They are the ones who bless others the most. It’s their tears that flow into another’s soul and help relieve the fire of the pain. These are the spiritual warriors that will be there in your time of loss and will comfort you in a way that only God could produce through them.
God comfort them as they continue to live through their own pain. Thank you for their ability to comfort us in our time of need. Grant that we may all be participants in a ministry of comfort for each other and to the world.
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact Scot at firstname.lastname@example.org.