Old Testament Lesson
Job 4:1, 5:1-11, 17-21, 26-27
One of the conversations we see in Job is that his friends, bless their hearts, try to comfort him, but do it in the wrong way. Sometimes in life, we want to comfort others and are afraid to say the wrong thing. I understand that. We've all been there, meaning well, and the wrong words come out of our mouths.
Jobs friends started off well. They simply came and sat with their friend in silence for 7 days. They didn't come with all the answers; they didn't come thinking they could tell him one magic word and make it all better. They simply came and sat with their friend.
If you want to provide comfort to someone that is hurting, the best way is to simply be there. To sit with them, love them, be there. Think of you own life. You probably don't remember every word spoken to you in in times of pain. But, you probably remember those that where their, that showed their love in their presence there. That is the be best way that we can provide comfort to those hurting. Not in having the right words, but in simply being there.
New Testament Lesson
We see in this passage one of the most important folks in all the Bible, but also one that doesn't get his proper due sometimes: Barnabas. When Paul was isolated, when no one wanted anything to do with him, when everyone was afraid of him, it was Barnabas that came and helped him. Barnabas encouraged him, Barnabas pleaded his case, Barnabas knew that God could save anyone, even Paul, who had persecuted the church.
Without Barnabas, Paul may have never been accepted by the others. Without Barnabas, Paul may have never traveled all over the word preaching, may not have written all of his letters, may not have been that missionary God called him be.
This was all because Barnabas didn't look at Paul for who he used to be, but who he could be in God's grace. Today, do we look at others for who they used to be, or who they can be?
We see that when we eat His body and drink His blood, we will receive life. Wesley viewed communion as a what he called a "converting ordinance," that someone could be lost, come and receive Communion, realize their great need for Jesus and be converted right there.
The Lords' Supper sustains us, gives us grace. It is a means of grace. That means that just as we can receive God's grace through prayer, or through reading the word, we will also receive God's grace through Holy Communion. Can we go through motions with Communion? Of course. But, can't we also go through motions of prayer? We should always remember than when we receive Holy Communion that in that moment, we are receiving grace from our God and that grace will, if we allow, cause us to grow closer to our God.