Despite best intentions, we all fail: Poor Bitsy
Please turn with me to our passage for today, 2 Cor. 1: 3-7. It reads:
“Praise be to the God and father of our lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”
There are three points to consider: Endurance and suffering is shared by all, comfort is given to all. Comfort abounds through Christ for all, for the salvation of all. Being patient under distress produces endurance for all.
We all fail each other, no matter how close we are (family and friends), sometimes because of this closenness.
Can you think of a time when you failed to have patience and endurance, and end up hurting someone?
Despite our best intentions, we often fail, especially when we lose sight of our lord. Our suffering and trials are minor compared to Paul’s — keeping Jesus close to our hearts provides comfort. In fact, this is the key!
What kind of hardships did the apostle Paul go through? Let’s read 2 Cor. 6: 3-10:
“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
Let’s keep the focus on Christ, yet realize that we all make mistakes and are sometimes the victims of circumstances. One day, in the late 1970s, firefighters received a call from an elderly woman in London to come and rescue her cat, Bitsy. Poor Bitsy had gotten stuck in a tree. They arrived quickly and without much trouble saved Bitsy from her high perch. As they were getting ready to leave, the woman invited her heroes in for a victory spot of tea. Very British of her.
After the tea break, and many fond farewells and waving of hands, the firemen hopped on the fire truck. But, as they drove away, they ran over poor little Bitsy and killed her.
That’s embarrassing. But, we can all relate. We all have those moments when we fail. Despite our best efforts, things come crashing down on us. We’re left holding the bag, or in this instance, the dead cat.
Be diligent and patient, be joyful always and never cease praying. As the day of Christ’s return draws near, remain faithful.
(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)